Jan 25, 2023 | by Brad Rowland

What's New: Love

By: David New

My wife and recently got a puppy—a five-month-old chocolate lab to be exact. After weeks of debate, we decided to, perhaps controversially, call her "Charlie" (Charlotte for long). She's an energetic bundle of ferocious fun. Although when she's assaulting us with licks at 11PM, the fun seems pretty one-sided.

My ability to enjoy dogs tends to wear thin once 10PM approaches, but my wife never tires of her. She loves that dog so much. The idea of being away from her for longer than an hour spirals her down a funnel of despair. I seem hyperbolic. I am not.

We throw around the word "love" a lot in daily conversation, from our sports teams to family pets. We can't get enough of it. But there's levels to it. I love our dog, but obviously that's a different kind of love than the love I have for my wife. This concept is one we all acknowledge, yet I think it gets even trickier within the Christian world—especially given that it's one of our most important commandments—"Love one another.” I can't say I practice it enough, but like everything else, it's clear there is a time to love. Thus, reciprocally, there must be a time to hate. Don't take my word for it?

"… A time to love and time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace" (Ecclesiastes 3:8).

This concept is so perplexing to me. It goes against pretty much all the things I thought I knew about love. How should there be a place for hate in my life?

I'm not a fan of expressions, at least not in a "there's a concrete expression for every one of life's questions and issues" kind of way. I hear things like, "hate the sin, not the sinner" and instinctively cringe. Its not a message the world preaches. In fact, the world tells us you can't truly love someone unless you accept them and all they do. This is where the disconnect happens.

How can you effectively communicate to someone the idea that just because they do things you might not approve of it doesn't mean you don't love them? I remember asking my mom this question a long time ago. There must be a way to witness AND alleviate the person's assumption of judgement. After all I genuinely am not judging them.

Disappointingly, there just isn't. Words are finite. They lack the ability to convey the message I want to share. I understand non-believers' point of view. I would be very insulted if someone came to me, told me I wasn't living life properly and that I needed to change. Their "I love you" just wouldn't seem real.

My mom told me that in the end it is how we act, how we treat people, and how we live our lives that is the most effective way to witness and love. When Jesus spoke many jeered Him, no matter the validity of what He said. But when He acted, when He did things, people took note.

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