What Good Is Our Love If We Always Communicate It Wrong?

For some odd reason, my blog post on “Calling BS on Rick Warren’s Quote” is getting more comments and traffic than any other post so far. I haven’t even published half the comments because they are all just links to the original quote in context. Thank you to everyone – I now know the context of the original quote. But that was not the whole point of that quote in the first place. I was dealing with how people are misusing the quote, not with Rick Warren himself.

A lot of the comments just had to be deleted as people tried to prove to me that they really don’t hate anyone by… using hateful language directed at me. Interesting, huh?

Most of all, I think a lot of people are so tied up in proving how much they love gays that they missed the point I was making. First of all, maybe you should wonder why you feel the need to prove you are a great gay-loving person to some random stranger on the Internets that runs a very unnoticed blog? Guilty conscious maybe? Me thinketh some of you doth protest too much. But ultimately, you missed my point if you think that whole post was about whether or not people who say they love really do or not. I didn’t contrast the whole situation as either/or. I called BS on saying that your attitude is being “just disagreeing.” It’s not just that – it is usually more. It may be love at some level, but the hurtful, hateful feelings are there, too.

If not, then where is the hurtful, hateful language coming from? So you say you love gays but use disrespectful stereotyping language for them (like the term “lifestyle”)? Can you see where that just doesn’t add up to many people?

Until we get this as the church, we will continue to be written off as irrelevant by people who don’t see the logic there. Disrespect may not equal hate, but to most people it doesn’t equal love, either. What good is our love if we always communicate it wrong? Or is it really love in the first place if it causes more hurt than we intend?

“But sometimes we have to speak the truth in love” people say.

metamodern-faith-avatarThis is usually translated to “I can say whatever mean things I want as long as I think it is truth and I end the rant with ‘but I love you man’ or something pithy like that.” Usually people use that statement as a way to cancel out the “in love” part with the “speak the truth” part.  “In love” is used as a modifier in the statement, meaning that you take the truth you want to speak and choose words that modify it to come across as loving. Its not a “get out of jail free” card, designed so that you can say whatever on earth you want and then tack on “in love” at the end. Of course, that is what many in the church do in my experience… and they whine about it when they get busted for it on Facebook or some random stranger’s blog.

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Even Gangsters, Hoodlums, and Scumbags Were Created by God

Man, has this Zimmerman / Martin thing brought out the emotion in people. I made the mistake of raising a few questions about the issue on Facebook and immediately was “defriended” by two friends of mine – a church friend from a while back that I thought was better than that, and a cousin that never really was happy when I raised any questions about gun owners. Not that I am against gun ownership…. I just think some people come across as loving their weapons more than certain types of human beings.

I think what a lot of people are missing a larger issue here. No matter what Travon Martin may or may not have been high on that night doesn’t change the fact that he was created by God. No matter what was found on his phone or what “gangster-ish” things he was into (that may or may not make him out to be more of a bad seed than his parents thought him to be), God still loved him as much as you or me or anyone else on this planet. Whether he came back to beat up Zimmerman or was still running away from Zimmerman when the fight happened is irrelevant to his standing before God. God gave Martin his life and still had hope for him whether he was the good kid that his family and friends made him out to be or the hoodlum that the media is trying to paint him as now.

So if you are rejoicing in Zimmerman as a hero, you are getting this whole “love your neighbor” thing wrong. Even if Zimmerman was acting in self-defense, he should have never even been there in the first place. He completely disregarded all neighborhood watch standards when he started following Martin. Even if he acted in self-defense, the whole episode should have never happened, because by the time he called 911 he had set in motion a chain of events that led to whatever happened later on. He shouldn’t have needed to defend himself because he made some very poor choices to put himself in that position in the first place. Heroes do not act like that.

But let’s assume for a minute that what all of what the conservative media outlets are saying about Travon Martin are true. What if he really is more of a “hoodlum” than some believe? One less future gangster on the streets, right? Wrong. If you are celebrating a win for citizen patrols or self-defense and not caring that a boy lost his life, you are doing this whole life thing wrong. Even if it was honest, pure self-defense, no one deserves to die that young. I’m not saying defending yourself is wrong. I’m just pointing out that it is never a reason to rejoice, especially if it causes loss of life.

Because that life is just as important to God as yours. Don’t kid yourself for one second into thinking that God is happy when a criminal or gangster or scumbag dies due to self-defense:

Ezekiel 18:23: Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

The same holds true for George Zimmerman. Those of us that find holes in his story and think that the evidence of his actions are pretty condemning need to keep that thought in perspective. Wanting him to face justice in the form of jail time is one thing, but wishing him dead makes you no better than the people that rejoice in the death of another black kid “going bad”. God loves Zimmerman, too – and those of us that find his actions to be criminal should keep that in mind.

metamodern-faith-avatarTo feel outrage when some dies is natural, no matter what the situation or circumstance is. You may think that Travon Martin got exactly what he deserved. You are free to believe that. But he was still killed, and it is natural for people to be upset at that. So try to have a heart and not make snide, condescending remarks about people who do care enough about every human soul to speak up about this. Most of what I am reading from the pro-gun / pro-self-defense / conservative media is just cold, heartless, and inhuman. A human being was killed without even so much as a trial to determine if he was really guilty of anything Zimmerman accused him of. At least Zimmerman got a trial to determine if he was innocent or guilty. He wouldn’t have been on trial if he had extended that same courtesy to Travon Martin.