“What did He say that got everyone so upset?” asked Crowley the demon
“Be kind to each other” replied Aziraphale the angel
“That’ll do it” said Crowley.
– Good Omens
The other day I was talking to someone about a controversial local pastor. He’s controversial because he holds to some doctrine and theology that some, if not many, would consider heresy. As I was listening to what this person had to say, something within me jumped and I just said to him “theologically conservative Christians need to do a better job at loving the more theologically progressive or liberal.“
Now, I’ve thought a lot about this over the last few days. I was eager to write about it but reluctant to post it. I think it’s going to rub against a few of that tend to fall more into my camp. It’s difficult because what is love? What does it mean to love those who completely disagree with you or who might even fall outside of the Faith? It’s difficult because the Bible by and large just says to love people and then leaves the details up to the reader. I can think of a few things that love is not.
1. Love is not an endorsement. If I love a heretic, a murderer or just someone I disagree with, this doesn’t mean I endorse what they represent or what they’re doing. I love them because Jesus commands us to love people and because I know who they can be in Christ – a new creation.
2. Love doesn’t automatically assume that I have to join hands with the person in worship. There are some people out there who simply worship a different God, this even includes professing Christians. There’s, I think, some fair warnings and guidelines around how we should fellowship in worship with the kind of people that teach a false Gospel and who deliberately lead the sheep into false pastures (Matthew 7:15-20; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 John 1). This, however, should never be at the cost of being able to pray for them, being able to have them out for a coffee or being able to engage with them in such a way that allows you to love (1 Timothy 2:1-3; Romans 5:8; Mark 12:30-31). Put it this way if they’re wrong and maybe not apart of the Faith, then they probably need more love and kindness then ever, mixed with truth, in order to see the grace of God (Romans 2:4, Ephesians 4:15).
I guess, at the end of the day, we should all take Jesus’ words seriously when He says to love and treat each other as we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31). If I had something to say, would I want to be heard? If I believed in something different compared to others, would I want to still have friends and people who loved me? Lets put our selves in the context of the other and ask ourselves, “would I want to be treated the way I treat them?”