There are so many thoughts buzzing around my head…
Sometimes I forget how different I am from 95% of the people walking around on this planet with me. Ok, ok, 99%. 99.5%. And yeah, we’re all completely different, being made uniquely in the image and likeness of God and all. But there are some ways that I’m just fundamentally different. I tend to forget, and when I’m reminded of it, it’s a little like stepping off a step I’d forgotten was there – a bit of a jar.
This is what happened. For a while now, one of my main criterias for whether a particular action is right and/or justified is how loving it is. The main question is a variation on: What is the most loving thing that I can do in this situation. It’s not as fuzzy-wuzzy as you’d think. Real love came with spikes through His hands and a crown of thorns on His head. But the most important question I can ask is, “Is this truly loving?” (i.e. chosing what is objectively the best good for both myself and the other person, knowing that all of our best good is to live with God forever in heaven). Recently someone was telling me about his plan to confront a brother in Christ with what he saw as one of that brother’s character defects. I objected to his plan. He asked why. I said, “It’s not loving.” To my surprise, this didn’t phase that person one bit. He said, “Yeah, but it’s fun.” And it was like stepping off that step that I didn’t realize was there.
Now this person is a Christian. He goes to church, and tries hard to live what he considers a holy life. He really does care about his faith. But he didn’t care much about whether he was loving his brother in Christ or not. He just wanted the brother to stop doing the thing that was annoying him. Eventually I got him to modify his plan by convincing him that embarassing a young man in front of a young woman is always a Bad Idea (rather like getting involved in a land war in Asia, or arguing with a Sicilian when death is on the line). But the main criteria by which I judge my actions (and what I had assumed was the general Christian critera, from Christ’s command to love one another like He had loved us) wasn’t really even a consideration to him. And I’m not sure what to do with that.