As Christians we are called to love people even if that person is emerged in their sins, even if that person is your enemy or an enemy of God and even if they hate you.
That being said love isn’t condoning bad behavior.
Love also isn’t shouting and pointing out how horrible someone is.
Look at it this way, if someone is an addict, shouting at them and telling them how horrible they’re and the wreckage they have left behind doesn’t seem like a sound strategy. Could it work? Possibly. But more than likely it will lead to them pushing you away and immersing themselves more in their addiction.
On the reverse of that if someone tells the addict, “Hey I love you the way that you are and everyone has their vices.” That is condoning their destructive behavior. In some ways that can be worse than the previous method.
Truth is both of those methods are no good and dangerous.
Instead we must correct in love, don’t condone but don’t condemn. We have to teach and show the way through our love. But how do we do that? Let’s go to scripture with two examples.
First let’s see how we show a person Biblical love by looking at what the Bible say love is…
1 Corinthians 13:
“13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Next let’s look at the example of how Jesus responds in love to the woman caught in Adultery…
John 8:1-11 (ESV)
8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
Jesus in a simple sentence explained how to handle a situation such as this. He addresses her sin directly in order to correct her, He chose not to condemn her and told her to “sin no more”. He did not condone her actions and tell her, “Well you’re all sinners”. He also did not call her bad names, shout at her and tell her she was an awful person.
Remember to try and have patience as God has patience with us.
Of course there is a time when you will have to walk away from that type of person, you should always pray for them but eventually there has to be some consequences.
Often people skip right to walking away or bringing severe consequences and in some cases that is the correct method but in many circumstances that is done because it is easier than having to deal with the issue directly.
But even more so the easiest thing to do would be to ignore the issue entirely so you don’t have to deal with it at all.
Think of someone you love, if they were in need of something or struggling in sin would you allow them to suffer or would you help them? Of course you would help them.
But Jesus calls us do something more radical, to love those who hate us.
So help those who hate you and be the light to battle the dark.
Bring love to hate.
Because love, true love is the greatest of all.
Have a Blessed and Loving Week,