I was reading a book review, and the reviewer said that people who read the book were “being lead away from God by listening to this guy…Love thy neighbor”
I have heard this term being used many times to justify or defend a position. I am ok with that, but in most cases it is being used wrong.
Here is where it comes from.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mat 22:36-40)
I understand the difficulty with the word love in English but it shouldn’t be that hard. We are looking at agape or agapao again. Same word to describe how God loved us in John 3:16 and how men love the darkness in John 3:19. This is not a butterfly in the tummy feeling. No ooey gooey love here.
Loving your neighbor does not mean to condone or support their actions. At the same time, you can not be loving to those around you by speaking hate towards them either. It becomes a fine line that is easy to mistake. If I speak against a lifestyle, then it is often taken as hate speech when that is not what is intended. I do not hate someone when I tell them that I think what they are doing is wrong. No one accuses a parent of hating their child when they say that stealing or lying is wrong. No one accuses a friend of hate speech when they tell their friend that what they are doing is wrong. It is not hate speech to correct someone.
It is hate speech to be chanting that someone is going to hell. It is hate speech to tell people that they are evil. The church has had too many instances of taking loving correction into a hate filled movement. This has go to stop and Christians are more obligated to correct Christians who partake of hate speech that to correct unbelievers of what they see as sinful actions.
Maybe this is why the church is becoming so silent among issues facing society today. They have seen the correction being demonstrated as hate and are afraid to be associated with that. When you speak out against something and then are called a bigot, Nazi or that you are spewing hate then I can see why the reaction is to stop and become silent. This is what the enemy wants though. He is counting on Christians being afraid to be confronted and face resistance when expressing their beliefs.