“ Love is Love”
Three reasons why it is so hard to explain yourself!
By Rev. Tom Tuura
Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church
2023 Theme: Family The Family of God...
Word Study of families in the Bible
As we get off and running on a new year, we anticipate another church season right around the corner. We are going to continue the theme of last year with a couple variations. This year we will be in the Old Testament, and it will be People and Places of the Passion in the Old Testament. So stay tuned.
If you haven’t been asked this question yet, you probably will. “Why do you believe the way you do?” Or “Aren’t you being judgmental?” Why can’t you accept (fill-in the blank) lifestyle?
Three reasons why it is so hard to explain point of view to our friends. There are no easy answers. Let’s talk about that.
Here is the basic belief we are confronted with. Our friend declares God is love, and Jesus loves everyone—as they are. They continue, we are suppose to love everyone also—meaning accepting their lifestyle. So then what’s wrong with that? It’s pretty simple—they say. But the reality is there is no simple answer. And we have to explain why.
The Christian is commanded to love. Jesus taught and preached love. We are rightly chastised for not being loving, for not loving our neighbor. But does that mean that loving our neighbor is accepting everything they do? Most of us are stopped in our tracks, because we know it’s true that we don’t love enough. You can never love enough. End of discussion they win. But we know there is more to say, but what?
The following statement from a wise man breaks it all open. What our friend is basically implying is this: “fulfilling Christ’s command of being loving, therefore requires a rejection of the 2000 year-old Christian sexual ethic.” That’s a contradiction isn’t it? How can we fulfill Christ’s command to love, but deny the Bible’s 2000 year old prohibitions against sinful behavior? We can’t. But that is what our friend is suggesting.
Well it’s not hard to understand. The old preachers used to preach, “hate the sin, love the sinner.” But that was in a time of broad consensus over what ‘sin’ was. There was a time where parents, principles, and even pastors would discipline the erring. There was a time when our communities would come together and grieve over immorality. There used to be a concept of holiness in our churches and villages. Sin doesn’t have to be redefined to love someone. In fact the truly loving thing to love the sinner and hate the sin.
Our friend insists “You are judging—you’re not suppose to judge.” or “You are a hypocrite, because you’ve done similar things.” and the big one, “You certainly aren’t perfect either.”
Too many honest and sincere Christian people beat themselves up because they don’t have quick easy answers to these challenges.
We quickly become discouraged by our tongue-tied attempts to explain, perplexing questions, new concepts and terminologies.
Sin is a destructive force. Insert sin into any situation, and it becomes a hundred times worse. Quick example, take a young couple with no money and minimum wage entry level jobs. If they are unmarried, that creates one significant wrinkle. Let’s say they party, that creates another expense. Throw in a DWI and now it’s really hard to recover. You get the idea. That same couple who gets married, go to church will be out of their trouble within one year to eighteen months, and on their way to success and prosperity very quickly.
But here’s what’s really wonderful. If the first couple confesses their sin, and surrenders to Christ, through repentance and faith, they will recover just as quickly. It may take a while to catch up, but so what, God is merciful. Sin renounced and in the rear view mirror is the only way to go. Sin always costs you more than you wanted to pay, takes you farther than you wanted to go, and keeps you longer than you expected to stay.
This is why its so hard to explain ourselves. The Christian’s calling is complex and difficult in at least three ways. So let’s give ourselves a break.
First, we are commanded to love like Christ loved.
Second, we are also commanded to oppose what is clearly forbidden in the pages of Scripture, both personally and in society.
Third, we must deal with our own sin past and present, I.e. current sinful desires, which will be with us until we pass into glory.
Someone wisely said, Christianity is not tried and found wanting, but hard and not tried. Now we can answer our friend. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is no one who is righteous. Christ allows us to honestly acknowledge our condition and need of grace. And this is the same grace needed by the world for their sin. Fundamentally this is a denial of the guilt of original sin.
So let’s wrap this up. This is progressive (leftist social justice based) religion in a nutshell. It has a hidden appeal. It’s left with non-judgmental love no questions asked. There is no more question of evil behavior. And more important, as a bonus, it justifies everyone’s own behavior, past and present. You have whole church bodies doing this.
Personal sin goes away and is replaced and redefined as racial inequity and climate justice, problem solved.
Unfortunately answers to our friends and family are not always simple. God and His Word simplifies all things. Sin brings complexity. But there is grace, and mercy through Christ on the cross. Only Calvary solves the sin problem. Only through Christ’s love and death on the cross do we truly find freedom and deliverance and simplicity.
That’s my view from the Blackberry Patch Pulpit