Faith Column: Love thy neighbour
…but does that mean every person?
Many religions call for their followers to love one another, including their enemies, which seems to be a contradictory and difficult task. If you love someone, wouldn’t that make them no longer an enemy? With all the hurt in this world, how can we possibly love everyone? People do wrong and hurt us, which makes it seem impossible to forgive them, let alone love them.
I was taught that when I am hurt or offended by someone, to focus on the idea that what they did made sense to them. Everyone has their own thoughts, experiences and opinions which make them unique.
But what about people who are hateful? Do they deserve to be loved too? The simple answer is yes, because fighting hate with hate will not improve anything. If you hate those who hate, or discriminate against those who discriminate, you are going to find yourself at their level. You may not agree with how they feel, but they are following their beliefs which make sense to them. Surely there are beliefs that you hold that other people don’t necessarily agree with.
Pastor Rick Warren once said, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” You can retain your beliefs while still caring for those who believe something different. That is, you do not have to agree on everything in order to love someone.
I remember when I was in Grade 5 that I was concerned that my friends would no longer be friends with me if they knew I didn’t like Cool Whip. Hopefully, adult debates have more depth than whether or not one’s friends enjoy certain dairy products, but the idea is the same.
We want to be accepted even though we don’t agree with our peers. It seems silly to me now, at the time, my concern made sense. My friends still loved me, even though I didn’t like Cool Whip! If a few 10-year-old kids can still love someone who doesn’t agree with them on everything, then you can too!
But is it alright to disagree with people? Of course! Is it okay to have an argument or different ideas? Absolutely! As long as you are debating because you care for this person and not picking a fight with the intention to hurt them, then you are capable of loving.