Within the Church of today, there seems to be finger pointing, chastising, and a lot of hateful, tough “love” being thrown at non-believers. People take harsh stances against abortion. People take hateful stances against the LGBTQ+ community. Many Christians are claiming righteousness to have a higher ground than their neighbor, and none of that is Christ-like in the least bit.
We have the privilege and responsibility of being the Body of Christ as His Church. We may be the closest thing to Jesus Christ that non-believers will see, so how do we actually put that to good use instead of merely claiming the name of Jesus to achieve some sort of moral high ground?
I believe that there is one fundamental act, one state of being, that is taught to us throughout the whole New Testament of the Bible; true love. No, I’m not talking about the kind of true love that you see in Disney movies. I’m talking about the kind of true love that you see on the Cross when Jesus is gasping for his last breath.
Who did Jesus call near to Him and die for? The self-proclaimed righteous, religious people who used their “standing with God” as a whip against others. Wait…actually strike that…
“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent,” Luke 5:32.
There is one fundamental act, emotion, and state of being that seems to be lacking from “Christians” inside and outside of the Church nowadays; true love.
“But Conor, my neighbor had an abortion at 27 weeks.” Love her.
“But Conor, my uncle is living a homosexual lifestyle and, according to Leviticus 18:22, that is an abomination.” Love him.
Also, in reference to what I just mentioned, there is also something that Jesus calls an abomination in the New Testament. In Luke 16:15, He says, “…for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” That means that — thanks to our human nature — there are plenty of things that we do and think every single day that are considered abominations in the eyes of God. We need to start by getting the plank out of our eye before we work on the spec in the eyes of others.
Back to what I was saying before the tangent that I just went off on…
It is simple…we are called to truly love everyone. Period. End of story. I fail at this often and have (at times) tried ‘tough love’ on non-believers and it has never worked. I was not attracted to the true love of Christ by a hypocrite hitting me over the head with a Bible and I will challenge you to find anyone who truly has been.
To attract a non-believer, love is the most important thing. Not tough love, not harsh love, but true love. The kind of Love that would die for every person on the face of the Earth, even if meant just one would truly accept Him and allow Him to transform their entire being.
Let’s save the ‘tough love’ for Christians who have fallen off the path of Christ-like living. To love a non-believer rightly is to love them the way that Christ would love them.
How about we let Christ work within us by making His hands heal, His arms reach, and His words teach? After all, we are the body of Christ, so let’s put His body to work.