when is an either or answer simply yes?

I wrote that

“Well, we speak the truth and love and sometimes love is harsh. Sometimes we need tough love. Sometimes people need a dose of reality to learn, change, grow, etc.”

And it does sound like it makes sense. We can see when someone might need it. We can talk around it.

Why doesn’t it work?

Why when it seems so clear and so obvious doesn’t it work?

I think it’s the posture of the heart. This approach or starting point comes from anger, or pride, or judgement. It doesn’t’ come from love. This isn’t grace, we’re not in the mess grieving with the person. We are out of it and seeing how much we know how wrong they are.

Does it mean we can’t be frank or direct? No, of course not.

But a frank and direct comment in love is really different than a dose of reality. And it comes from relationship. It comes with history and back story and an understanding built over time. There is nuance and grace. Not a message on twitter or a comment on Facebook to a stranger who needs to see how wrong they are.

If I could just get all those conservatives to see what they are doing to the marginalized, they’d change.

If I could just get those liberals to see what they are doing to marriage, they’d change.

Because it’s not about a liberal or conservative changing as much as it’s us being proven right. Especially when we start with “a dose of reality.” When we comes to a person, not as a person, but as the representation of an idea.

It’s not love When we assume they don’t care as much about scripture as us. It’s not love when we assume they don’t pray as much. It’s not love when we assume they are being willfully ignorant. It’s not love when we assume the worst in them and the best in us. It’s not love when we bring death not life, when we create darkness and oppression not light and freedom.

So much is really about the posture of the heart and the way we choose to see people.

Liberal or conservative? Yes

Complementarian or egalitarian approach to marriage? Yes.

A patriarchal family or matriarchal family? Yes.

Contemporary worship music or hymns? Yes.

Same-sex marriages or opposite-sex marriages? Yes.

There is deep amounts of theology in all of these. You don’t need to go that far back to see I have some strong views on worship. But is the choice and structure rooted in love must be our question.

Does this allow love to flourish?

Is this the best way for people to share love and be loved?

Is this the way that will honour their God given AND their learned reality of their identity?

It’s all posture.

In so many controversial, either or discussions, we want to be right. We want others to affirm we are right. We need to be right because if we aren’t the implications, though we can’t always articulate them to ourselves, are too great. If an egalitarian approach to marriage is “right” then my marriage has been “wrong” for the past 30 years.

Whenever we speak about systems and structures, they are rooted in experience. Choices people have made that bring a structure to life. They are often so much more than an idea or process. It’s not the idea of marriage, it’s my marriage that comes through in the discussion. It’s my experience, my life, my history.

And so we try to defend ourselves. We try to prove our way and our process right.

We don’t stop and consider that not only does the other side care as deeply about this idea, they have a marriage too. They have a history that is also wrapped up in this conversation.

And beyond that, they may be wildly different from us. With a different background, family life, formative experiences, the list goes on. With all the wrapped up into a singular idea, maybe the best way for them to experience love in a marriage isn’t a complimentary approach? Maybe it is.

It’s not the approach, its love that makes it work.



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