Loving Your Neighbor, Even When He’s a Jerk - Written on Friday, August 10, 2012 by Tad Cronn
“I do hate God,” one Chick-fil-A protester yelled at a homeless black man reading from his Bible in Chicago last week.
The incident was caught on video and clearly illustrated the hypocrisy underlying the Chick-fil-A protests.
The “kiss-in” and general boycott by gays and their supporters wasn’t about hatred being peddled by a fast food corporation, it was about the gay rights movement’s hatred of God and Christians.
Other videos and photos captured the protesters’ disdain for others: a video of a gay-marriage supporter harassing a painfully polite Chick-fil-A employee, vandalism at two restaurants, rude snubbing of Chick-fil-A employees who were offering protesters free lemonade, pictures of gay couples making out in public in front of children and families.
It’s easy to be offended and become angry when confronted with such despicable behavior by people who clearly revel in their defiance of societal conventions.
For Christians, this becomes a particular challenge because of the Bible’s teachings about loving your neighbor.
How do you love someone who’s hell-bent on irritating you?
Liberals like to pick and choose Bible passages that can be taken out of context to support their arguments. You know the usual ones: Judge not lest you be judged; turn the other cheek; let him who is without sin cast the first stone, etc. Somehow in the liberal mind, these all translate as “conservatives get to shut up while we get to do whatever strikes our decency-hating fancy.”
We make a mistake though if we buy into the liberal spin on Christianity and surrender the moral high ground.
It’s true we are commanded to love our neighbor, but there’s nothing to say we have to like the guy.
This is the point where I think liberals, and some Christians, most often go wrong, confusing “love” with “like.” They’re not the same.
Love defends another person’s right to free speech, buys them a sandwich when they’re hungry, treats their wounds when they’re injured or pulls them from a burning car crash.
Like will get you a pat on the head and an attaboy as you head for a cliff. Like doesn’t engage the person or much care about his real needs.
Love can be harsh. It can mean a trip to the woodshed because Mom cares enough to punish you for not doing your chores. Love can be a painful shot in the arm because it’s important that you not get sick.
Like is always pleasant. It’s a shrug and a “that’s OK” when you behave irresponsibly. It’s a get well card after you’ve already contracted some horrific virus.
Love is a long and embarrassing lecture about sex and how to treat women.
Like is a self-esteem workshop, some lubricant and a condom.
Jesus said, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” But he never said to turn a blind eye when someone is bullying your neighbor — or your local chicken entrepreneur — for his beliefs. Martyrdom is commendable, but standing by while innocents are hurt isn’t.
I think most Christians understand this intuitively, which in part explains the huge turnout for Chick-fil-A Support Day. But there are some Christians who cite turning the other cheek as an excuse for their own apathy.
Love can be a royal pain in the tukas. It’s a commitment to another person that implies a responsibility for their well-being over their feelings. And that means being honest and slamming on the brakes when a person’s going the wrong way.
A lot of the people in the gay “marriage” movement say they hate Christians or even God for just that reason, because we’ve seen the truth of their agenda and said no.
It’s not easy knowing you’ve hurt someone’s feelings, and Christians should always try to be as gentle as possible. But we are called to testify to the truth, even when it hurts.
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