Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Love Does Not Look Like Judgement

I've been thinking since I wrote my last post about our use of the phrase "Love the sinner, hate the sin." In that post I was suggesting that going out of your way to point out and denounce whatever you view as sin in the lives of others, under the guise of "love", is not in fact a very loving thing to so.

I've struggled with the notion that people who claim to worship a God whose very essence is love, can be some of the most hurtful, hateful, unloving people around. And that in so many cases, christians are not known for their love, but for their bigotry and fear and condemnation of others.

And I've wrestled with the reality that I've encountered many christians who seem to use the word love to describe behaviour which just isn't loving.

Like the board member at my ex-church who told me I'd been loved, and so I should just shut up and get over it.

I'd been bullied and then dismissed. I'd been told to submit or resign. I'd been removed from leadership. I'd been continually silenced. I'd suffered accusations based on lies. And I'd been treated like a pariah.

Yet here was this guy writing to me, "You. Have. Been. Loved." How could anyone possibly call what I'd been subjected to "love"?

It sure didn't feel like love to me.

But that's just a single example. It so doesn't stop there. Every day, both online and face to face, people are being judged, rejected, cold-shouldered, put down, shunned, bullied, and silenced. And all the while the perpetrators are claiming to love! In the name of their god no less!

And that's where it gets interesting - or at least that's where the light-bulb illuminated for me. Because it occurred to me that despite paying lip-service to the notion that God IS love, many christians obviously have a view of God that is anything but loving.

It seems that the god many worship is a god of anger and vengeance. One who only tolerates us because his own son stood between us and the bloodlust of his father. A god who demands that we work hard, and jump through hoops, and suffer just to avoid the inevitable judgement that is our due.

And if, deep down where people may not even admit it to themselves, God is seen in these terms, it's no wonder they would think that judging and pointing fingers and demanding people live in line with their own morality is what love looks like. That is, after all, what their god looks like.



  1. okay LivLim, i'm going to register my goofiness just because i like to be a goofball sometimes..

    so on reading your post just now guess what i'm left with? yep, you guessed it.. that Haddaway song _What is Love? Baby don't hurt me. Don't hurt me. No more_..

    so i have those lyrics now playing in my headspace..

    appreciated your post..

    1. Haha! That's brilliant. Thanks for sharing :D

  2. Precisely, LL. Some people read the imprecatory psalms and then the passage where John says God is love and they put it together to conclude that love is bashing babies against rocks.

  3. I was at some friends of the family--or long time friends of my husbands and they had their grandkid over who claims he doesn't want to follow God anymore. He's a nice kid and has a lot of good qualities. But his grandparents don't like him. They tolerate him. From what I gathered, it is because of his dislike of Christianity. So at one point, the grandma brought up the rapture and her grandson said he'd take his chances. So then his grandma says "well hope you like getting your head chopped off!" I didn't even know what to say! Who says that to their grandkids? Let alone anyone! I realized the reason he may not like God is because his grandparents don't love like Christ. Last week it was his bday and on facebook they wrote "happy birthday. Praying you turn back to God"....couldn't they just have said "happy birthday. We love you" ?? Why the guilt trip? It just made me so annoyed. That's what churches do though. They think being hard on people is love but in my experience all it does is bring shame.

    1. What a really horrible way to treat your grandchild! And what a really horrible god they must have created in their minds :(

      I can imagine that God is standing next to this young guy, whispering, "No, don't listen to them. That's not what I'm like!"