Thursday, 5 December 2013

Loving sinners?

I note that conservatives are sometimes labelled haters for their opposition to practitioners of sin. Now the situation is complicated, not the least being challenging men in the public sphere who promote evil is not incompatible with compassion, overlooking sin, or offering grace in the private sphere. Nevertheless, the accusation may be true at times.

What I think is neglected in this debate, especially when it is Christians accusing Christians of lack of charity, is the attitude of the fault-finders toward sin.

Consider several of the topics often associated with conservatism; opposition to: abortion, public welfare, sexual immorality, aspects of public education, liberal media. (Leaving aside the fact these can be framed positively and that other topics have not been included). When conservatives oppose these issues they are frequently accused of hating the people that engage in such activities. This may be contrasted with Jesus' command to love.

Now Jesus does call us to love all men including our enemies. Christians who fail to love their political opponents are not in line with Jesus' commands here. If we are not loving we should take note of such challenges.

Nevertheless, I think that conservative Christians do frequently act lovingly toward such people in their private engagements. My complaint is that (politically) liberal Christians who make such accusations seem to approve of pagan behaviour that conservatives oppose, or at least they consider such behaviour as a minor infraction.

If this is the case then liberals can hardly claim the moral high-ground. Which is more praiseworthy? Loving someone despite the fact you think his behaviour is evil; or loving someone because you think he really is not that bad, or even that his behaviour is perfectly acceptable.

Which is harder, loving a woman who has had an abortion when you think that she has murdered someone, or loving her because you think her situation was difficult and the abortion was no big deal?

I am not attempting to justify conservative Christians hating their enemies. Jesus tells us this is not an option. But you cannot accuse others of being haters and justify yourself when your opinion of the morality of various actions differs from your opponent. The question is: Do you hate those whose morality you truly disagree with? How do you treat dog-fighters, and paedophiles, and people who don't recycle.

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