It Is Not an Act of Love

If a prophet of God refers to something as an abomination, something that God detests and hates, it is not an act of love to tell someone that God is actually perfectly okay with it.

If an apostle of Jesus Christ declares that a particular behavior is an act of idolatry, it is not an act of love to affirm people in their idolatrous actions.

If an apostle of Jesus Christ declares that a particular action is not only an act of idolatry, but also evidence of God’s judgment on a society that engages in that idolatry, it is not an act of love to tell people that God’s judgment may be safely ignored.

If an apostle of Jesus Christ says that a particular behavior is directly contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is not an act of love to tell people that they can engage in that behavior and still refer to themselves as Christians.

If an apostle of Jesus Christ expressly says that engaging in a particular action disqualifies someone from entering the kingdom of God, it is not an act of love to tell people that they can engage in that behavior and still be members of the kingdom.

If an apostle of Jesus Christ includes a particular behavior in a list of sins which includes the following: greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, gossip, slander, hatred of God, drunkenness, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, swindling, hating one’s parents, murdering one’s parents, slave trading, lying, and perjury, to tell people that, unlike all these other sins, the particular behavior under question is not a sin, and that it is the only action in that list that is not a sin, that is not an act of love.

If an apostle of Jesus Christ lists a particular action in a group of other actions which he characterizes as wicked, evil, malicious, insolent, arrogant, foolish, unfaithful, unloving, unmerciful, ungodly, unholy, and irreligious, it is not an act of love to say that the particular action under question, and that particular action alone, should not be so characterized with the rest of them.

If Jesus Christ said that he came, not to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them, and if he says that anyone who sets aside the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, i.e., will certainly not inherit the kingdom of heaven, it is not an act of love to do what Jesus warns so strongly against.

It is not an act of love to try to be more inclusive than Jesus Christ.

It is not an act of love toward God to violate God’s command to love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, by telling people that it is okay to violate his commands.

It is not an act of love toward your neighbor to tell them that they are do nothing wrong when they engage in actions which God through his prophets, and Christ through his apostles, declared to be sinful acts.

It is not an act of love toward one’s brothers and sisters in Christ, when they are being persecuted, prosecuted, sued, fired, ridiculed, and ostracized for their fidelity to God’s word, and you, in direct opposition to what the church of Jesus Christ has always believed at all times and in every place, refuse to stand side by side with them in solidarity.

Love must be everything the apostle Paul said it was in 1 Corinthians 13. It must be patient, kind, humble, selfless, slow to anger, protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering.

But love must not delight in evil; rather, it rejoices with the truth. Love must be sincere; and the one who loves must also be one who is prepared to hate what God hates: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Rom 12:9).

And all of these terms—love, evil, truth, sincerity, hate, good—must not, for the Christian, be defined by the spirit of the age, but by God as he has revealed himself in his Son, and in his holy prophets and apostles.

When this happens, when a Christian loves as God says to love, then we may truly say: It is an act of love.

Jerry Shepherd
November 1, 2016

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