“Our culture has accepted two huge lies.
The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle,
You must fear them or hate them.
The second is that to love someone
means you agree with everything they believe or do.
Both are nonsense.
You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
– Rick Warren
I came across this quote within the last week floating around on a social networking site. I don’t remember where it came from or who I found it through, I just remember the “Aha!” moment that I had when I read it. I didn’t plan to do anything more than read it and pass it along for others to read, but over the last four days I found that I couldn’t get it out of my head.
This is one of the many things that I can read now and see in a completely different light than I would have even one year ago. See, one year ago, I would have been one of the many to believe these “two huge lies.” I had accepted them. I’ve considered myself a “christian” throughout most of my life–regardless of how I was living–and under that title, it was my understanding that these “two huge lies” were the truth. “Fear them or hate them?” Yep, I had that down to a science. I didn’t think that I could love somebody who believed something so very different from what I had believed in all of my life.
There is a certain subject – I’d actually prefer not to say exactly what it is, although some people will already know – that I had attempted a somewhat cowardly “protest” against last year, or possibly even before that. It’s something that I can admit that I handled inappropriately and overall, I just wish I had done things differently. But. After time has passed, while my beliefs on the subject have not changed, my belief in these “two huge lies” has done a 180.
Yes. I used to hate what was different. I even went as far as thinking that I was doing the right thing by hating. The Bible clearly says, “Let those who love the Lord, hate evil” in Psalm 97:10. The problem with that is that it is also clear in saying, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another”in John 13:34. It doesn’t say to love the ones that you don’t hate, it says “you must love one another” (emphasis added). The concept seems really simple now, but from some reason it was something that I couldn’t grasp until recently. It’s no mystery as to why. I know exactly why. It’s because before, I didn’t have the Holy Spirit. I thought that I did, but I hadn’t truly accepted the Holy Spirit into my heart and life.
The acceptance of the Holy Spirit has brought-and continues to bring-me so much understanding, on so many different things. It is truly amazing.
Thinking about the people who know my former self, I can only imagine what a hypocrite I must have looked like by sharing this Rick Warren quote, considering that the life I was living was the exact opposite of what is said in those few sentences. That is, in part, why I wrote this. It has had me thinking about this amazing difference in my life. This huge change in my life. Something that only God could do, that’s for sure.
I love to share experiences such at these that prompt me to remember how amazing and how wonderful Gods love is, and the many ways that He is continually showing Himself in a life that could never earn such adoration. I don’t like to use the word “remember” here, but it is the truth. Sometimes we don’t remember to take the time to appreciate God, but think about it… Can you think of anyone or anything else more deserving of our attention? I sure can’t.