Love is different from agreement.
It’s true that agreement can be loving. And love can be quite agreeable.
But they’re not the same thing.
Our culture misses this point. Too often culture believes for love to be love it must be explicitly agreeable.
But there will be times where love, to be truly love, appears quite disagreeable.
For example, love may confront. Or withhold. Or abstain. Or say “No” when everyone else is saying “Of course!”
Unfortunately, such a posture is increasingly perceived as unloving.
Why? Because we disagreed with them. To agree is to love. To disagree is to not love.
Note – it doesn’t matter how kind the delivery of this disagreement was given. To them, disagreement didn’t meet their expectation. They wanted only agreement.
This reality is becoming much more common in a world which takes its lead from culture. At one time, the church served as chaplain to the culture. It does so no longer (See #7 and #8).
The Church is often asked whether they agree or disagree with X-issue.
I think there are three possible responses.
The first is to state your disagreement. Whether due to God, his Word, theology, conviction, or whatever, you believe love demands you state your disagreement. Even at the risk of offense, you must not remain silent because you love.
The second is to withhold your disagreement. Again, whether due to God, his Word, theology, conviction, or whatever, you believe love demands you don’t state your disagreement. Even at the risk of appearing to agree (though you don’t), you must remain silent because you love.
The third (and this is the one I often choose) is to steer the conversation away from this one point in order to focus on underlying values. And it’s not because there are not times to straight up agree or disagree. There are.
But it’s important for us to be reminded that each person is asking whether we agree or disagree for a reason. And it’s likely to add value to their own agenda.
The value to news outlets or bloggers is a sound bite.
The value to non Christians is to stereotype.
The value to people pleasers is reinforcement.
The value to disagreeable types is ammunition.
Each of these then share our opinion with greater disdain or zeal because it fits or doesn’t fit with their agenda.
The Church is often asked whether they agree of disagree with X-issue. I’m not sure we need to immediately offer up our agreement or disagreement.
I’m much more interested in conversing about foundational values than solitary issues.
I want to know why love must agree and why disagreement is hate.
I want to know the rationale for why they agree or disagree.
I want to know the guiding principles around which they orient their lives.
Once I know their foundational values, it’s much easier to have a meaningful conversation with them about the issue.
And, who knows, in the midst of such civility, maybe they will not want to know only about whether I agree or disagree. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be interested in knowing why.
This principle also shows you why I blog the way I do.
Share your thoughts and comments. Do you believe our culture mistakes agreement for love?
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