Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Billy Graham: Love the Unlovable

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’ve heard that the Bible tells us to love others, but everyone in our family agrees that one of our cousins is impossible to love. He’s obnoxious and conceited, and no one likes being around him. How can you love someone you don’t like? — C.B.
The simple fact is that 'like' and 'love' are two different emotions. A parent could have a super-brat for a child. They may be so bad that they are impossible to deal with. While they may probably admit that they don't like the child, or that they failed somehow, they will also likely say that they still love them. Of course there is also the interesting fact that the Bible also contradicts the aforementioned call to love others...
DEAR C.B.: Yes, the Bible certainly tells us to love others, even if they aren’t very lovable. When Jesus was asked which were the most important of God’s laws, he summarized them in two commands: to love God and to love others (see Mark 12:28-34).
But that's not the whole story now is it... Jesus is on record in the Bible as saying, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple."

So if we are to do as Billy suggests and follow Jesus, that puts hating this cousin on the table.

The Bible also says that Jesus said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--a man's enemies will be the members of his own household."

So considering that, is it now arguable that not liking this cousin could be one way of following Jesus. He came to divide families after-all. So divide away!

Seriously though... The real answers are in why this person isn't liked. Is there a misunderstanding? Is it a mask they are hiding behind in order to conceal some kind of pain or sadness? Talk to this person and let them know you care. In fact, the question that is being asked was answered just by being asked. CB obviously cares about this cousin at least to some degree, otherwise they wouldn't be asking this question. So yes, one can love someone who doesn't appear likable.
God loves us not because we’re perfect or even likable, because we aren’t... And unlike our love for others, his love means he always wants what’s best for us, although we don’t deserve it.
Please explain to me why believers often claim that atheism is the world-view full of despair and meaningless? Here we have a very well known Christian saying that every person ever in all of history has been 'unlikeable' and 'undeserving of love'... Please explain to me how a religion that
starts from the premise that we are all unlikeable and unlovable, and worst still, don't deserve love is a positive force.

To me, it makes Christianity sound very depressing. If this was the view of only a single person, we'd say they have self-esteem and depression issues. We'd suggest medication, counseling, and maybe consider them a suicide threat. But then again... The whole Jesus deal does kind of make it a suicide cult, so maybe it does make sense in a way.

-Brain Hulk

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