Suppose you have a friend who is walking toward a door. Behind that door is something that will bring harm or trouble to that friend’s life. Do you love that friend enough to let them go through the door, or do you love them enough to warn them or attempt to stop them?
I hear the phrase “I’m just going to love” used by a large number of people. Honestly, that phrase bothers me because I believe that it is often used as a cop-out. Now, let me explain.
Jesus calls us to love.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39B. NIV.
This is not something that we have to or need to agree with. This is a commandment, so we either obey or rebel. I struggle in this because some people are just not easy to “love” and I include myself in that category. Some people are not easy to like and again I can see myself in this category. But Jesus did not say love those that are easy to love or easy to like. He called us to love our neighbor and by that I believe He meant everyone. But like so many other scriptures, we take the part we like and conveniently forget the rest.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 37-40. NIV.
There is not enough time and space to go through the first command fully, but in a nutshell it calls us to seek God first with ALL of our being, heart, soul and mind. To do that calls us to holiness and to righteousness. To die to ourselves daily and pick up our cross and follow Him.
So if we take what Jesus said in total context, we are to love God first and then our neighbors. Never mentions loving ourselves. Clearly the example that Jesus lived by and set for us to follow.
Did Jesus just “love everybody”? I think it’s obvious He loved everyone. But He also called others to fulfill the first commandment and He definitely didn’t ignore sin. I believe He loved the Pharisees. He loved them so much He called them “snakes and a brood of vipers” in Matthew 23:33 NIV. I believed He loved Peter, so much so that in Matthew 16:23 NIV, He tells Peter to “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” He even told the woman accused of adultery that was to be stoned to “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11B NIV).
So do you love that friend enough to let them
go through that door or to try and stop them?
Before anyone starts to “wig out” about “judging” and “confronting” others, we have to find balance. That is one thing we as humans are not good at. We let the pendulum swing from one side to the other and fail to find the balance that Christ set.
I’m not advocating going around telling people that they are going to burn in hell for their actions any more than I’m advocating just loving people so sin can be ignored. Both can be wrong. But for those that say it’s not your place to confront others, consider these scriptures:
“Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.” I Timothy 5:20 NIV.
“My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20 NIV.
Don’t forget Jesus said this:
“So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
Luke 17:3-4 NIV.
So do we love others enough to let them walk through that door or do we love them enough to try and stop them? No matter how much it may hurt or embarrass, I need brothers and sisters in Christ who love me enough to try and stop me from going through that door. I also need to be the follower of Christ who would try and stop a brother or sister in Christ from walking through that door. There is always the chance it could end a friendship or create a confrontation. But to do nothing when we know it is wrong, is sin.
“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do
and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17 NIV.
Can we run to the cross and ignore sin along the way?