Text: Matthew 5:43-48 AMP.
Love in this context (this post) does not refer to the emotion rather it refers to agape love, an unselfish love that seeks the best for others. The type Jesus has for you and I.
This post comes as a reminder to us of the kind of love that our savior has for us. It comes as guide to those of us that may have been caught up between hate and love.
For years now, many countries have incorporated the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) into the society. The bill has been passed and many countries of the world have signed it into law. More and more, we see them come out…even in countries where it has not been legalized. They’re all over the place and they have been integrated in virtually every sector of the society especially the entertainment industry. Earlier this year, I watched a particular series and one of the main characters was transgender. My initial reaction to that was disgust and intense hatred. It was later on that it occurred to me that, that is not what Jesus would do. What then should be our view as Christians?
Initially I battled with my spirit that they’re sinners and they should be cast out. The Holy Spirit then showed to me 2 Timothy 1:9: “God is the one who called us with a holy calling. This wasn’t based on what we have done, but it was based on his own purpose and grace that he gave us in Christ Jesus before time began”. I did not save myself by my works or merit, it was God’s grace. We are saved by grace, produced by love. If we have been privileged to have been born into Christian homes or we have been privileged to know the truth, that does not give us leverage to condemn people. John 3:16 says “for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life”. God loved the world that is, He loved every single person not just the humble or the saved or the people that follow the bible word for word. If God does not hate them, why should we? The Holy Spirit told me that just before I start to condemn anyone, I should realize that it could have been me. It is God’s grace that saves us.
If we preach that God is love and we are homophobic, aren’t we contradicting ourselves? Would you stylishly avoid sitting next to that guy in the bus just because you’re aware he is gay? Would you reject that woman’s job application because she mentioned that she is transgender? If we are angered that what they’re doing is wrong in the sight of God, how are we going get them to see from our perspective if we are always on a mission to put them down? Some of these people are still basking in their sin because no one has told them about God’s love. All they hear is “hell, hell and hell”. I watched a video once, where a particular guy who is gay said “for we that are going to hell fire”. I was shocked that he said something like that, but it is because of those that have gone outrightly and told him he is going to hell. Jesus Christ did not hand to us the mission of preaching hell. He said we should preach the gospel (Mark 16:15). The word ‘gospel’ means good news. Telling someone they’re going to hell is definitely not good news. My goal cannot be to help you attain health and I’d start telling you about various sicknesses. Let us tell them of the good news of salvation instead, that is what Jesus would do.
When the Bible says “let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16), the men being referred to here is the unbelieving part of the world. Hatred certainly does not bring light and no one can appreciate someone who hates them. If you are truly concerned for their souls, show them love, preach Jesus to them. Zaccheus the tax collector was tagged by all, a sinner but Jesus stood out and instead of condemning him, He even went to his house to eat. Afterwards, Zaccheus was saved (Luke 19:1-10). The adulterous woman was to be stoned to death. Adultery is a sin, even the non-religious people can’t stand it but Jesus didn’t advocate that she be cast away or stoned to death. He instead showed her love and used that medium to urge her not to sin anymore (John 8: 3-11). He is the only one who is able to condemn (because He is perfect) but He has never and He tells us He will never. Our greatest weapon of evangelism is Love. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Not ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ hated us’ or ‘Christ condemned us.’ He loved us so much that he put His life on the line for us. Why do we find it hard to replicate that kind of love? We cannot eliminate a form of evil with another (hatred)…Romans 12:21. Jesus conquered by love, we should too!
The bible makes us understand that the tongue is powerful (James 3:5-8). Before you tell that bisexual classmate of yours that she’s going to hell, remember that she would hold on to your words and never find herself worthy of God’s love. We have to understand that as Christians, we are called to replicate the life of Jesus. We are called to represent God and the bible lets us know that God is love (1 John 4:7-8 AMP). Any Christian who has no love in him is automatically contradicting his faith. 1 Corinthians 13:1 AMP says “if I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love for others growing out of God’s love for me, then I have become only a noisy gong or clanging cymbal; just an annoying distraction”. We cannot claim to represent God on earth, yet our values contradict His. God loves the unbeliever just as much as the believer. In fact, He sent Jesus to earth for the sake of the sinners and not the righteous (Luke 5:32). Why then do we show love to fellow believers but once it is someone whose lifestyle or religion contradicts our faith, we get agitated?
It would however be extremely wrong for me to then say we should condone sin. I am not in any respect telling us to tolerate or encourage sin. Instead, love the people, hate the sin. In essence, we should guide them to the truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ rather than castigate them. Let them know of the destination (the Kingdom of God), introduce to them the only Way, Jesus, then watch the Holy Spirit work wondrously in their lives. It is He (The Holy Spirit) who causes us to will and to do what pleases God (Philippians 2:13). You may even bear me witness that some of your ungodly behaviors prior coming into Christ have now become so far from you. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. Let us stop getting angry on God’s behalf. That is not our ministry…ours is to keep spreading the love of Christ through the gospel. While it is not recommended to make friends with them (1 Corinthians 15:33), we should however be friendly with them. A true Christian should not discriminate at all. A true Christian should not be homophobic, Islamophobic, racist etc. To love or to hate? I’d say (by the backing of the Holy Spirit) to Love!