by Rebecca Peters
I have some thoughts bouncing around in my head, thoughts and questions. Like, is it more important to be right, or to love unconditionally? Is it more important for others to know your personal values and opinion on things, or for them to know that you sure do love them… even if you disagree with them?
I can’t help but think – love trumps everything. Love trumps being right. Love trumps opinion.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) says, And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Interesting how it doesn’t even say anything about being right or making sure your Biblical values are clearly known.
I am all for staying true to Biblical beliefs and values. But in standing up for those, we need to make sure we aren’t creating walls that love can’t get through or climb over.
The Bible and its truths should be a bridge, not a wall. A bridge that is built out of love, empathy, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding. A bridge that gives us a place to meet, even though we may have very different opinions and values and beliefs. Jesus is a bridge, not a wall. He is an open door and a hug, not a pointing finger or cold shoulder.
Just because we don’t agree with someone, does not mean we can’t have compassion and love them. And just because we have compassion for and love someone, does not mean we agree with everything they do or believe. It just means we love them, for who they are, a child of God. Kind of like how Jesus loved and loves us.
Jesus didn’t wait for us to live perfectly and have His values and beliefs. He built a bridge of love and walked over and sat with us in our mess of hurt and loneliness.
Love is what opens hearts and heals broken relationships and builds bridges. I believe that’s what we need to do more of. We might have values and beliefs that we believe are truth, but no one wants to hear them unless we have loved first. Which is more effective? Shouting our beliefs and opinions from the other side of the wall or walking across the bridge and letting our lives do the talking and sharing?
Philippians 1:6-7, 9 (AMP) says, And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ (right up to the time of His return), developing (that good work) and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight (that your love may display itself in greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment).
That’s what I’m praying and believing and hoping for – that our love may abound more and more. Abound means to exist in larger numbers or amounts. We need to love more and bigger. Which means it’s probably going to be hard to do sometimes – the more unconditional, the harder it is. But I believe that’s what we need to do – abound in unconditional love.
This is what pregnancy care centres do – it’s where unconditional love is displayed and offered every day. The love that centre staff and volunteers offer, it trumps everything. It trumps shame, stigma, race, religion, gender, circumstances and different values. It builds a bridge, so that we can walk over and sit with clients in their hurt and confusion and loneliness, just like Jesus has done with us. And as we’re sitting and listening, our love abounds, and we offer hope.
~ Rebecca Peters is the Resource Development and Communications Liaison for CAPSS.