broken silence.

It’s much easier to condemn sinners when you are not actually in relationship with them.
I’ve stayed silent on this long enough. With a flood of people asking me why I’m silent when they have their campaigns to make moral laws, I suppose the silence should be explained. So here it is. I did not want to write this, because I feel I’ve written this hundreds of times already. People should know where I’m coming from and why I usually stay out of their conversations.

Stand for righteousness… but righteousness is nothing but coldhearted legalism unless it is done with love.

Love cannot be done from a distance. And love cannot be done through a law. Love requires a real relationship, friendship.

Our acts of righteousness must be built on firm foundations of relationship- with God AND one another. Before you try to fight and suffer for a law or a concept, how about first learning how to fight and suffer for the person this law affects?

you can vote yes or no on a law. Pray as hard as you can for whichever side you want to win… But in reality, I don’t think that’s what God’s primary concern is. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus gives two instead of one (sneaky rabbi!). God desires that we love Him and we love others. You cannot love God without loving others, and you cannot love others without loving God. Two laws that are two sides of the same coin. Peculiar… laws. Laws are meant to be built on concepts of relationship and love. Gut out the relationship and love from law and righteousness, and all you have is an oppressive system of marginalization.

I’m not saying stay out of politics. I’m not saying to abstain from making righteous laws. I am saying that righteousness has its foundation in love, and if you do not know how to love those that deserve condemning, you really no longer have the right to condemn anymore.  You aren’t actually making a law- you are simply doing the easier thing- to hate. And no, it’s NOT A WAR. it’s PEOPLE.  Yes, it can still be considered a spiritual war of sorts, but don’t use this description of this all as a war just to distance yourself from the people these laws affect.

It’s easier to condemn a gay lifestyle when you haven’t actually made friends with a gay person.
It’s easier to condemn an illegal migrant worker when you’ve never actually sat down with one and learned about who he or she is.
It’s easier to condemn abortion when it’s not your friend who was raped and humiliated by a man that she thought she could trust.
It’s easier to condemn a beggar as somebody who will just buy drugs with your money if you haven’t just sat down with the guy and saw his humanity.
It’s easier to condemn racism when you yourself have been surrounded by people exactly like yourself your whole life and have never learned to love somebody different from yourself.

Yes, there’s a place for condemnation and judgement. But it should never give us joy. It should never give us a feeling of victory. I just did a bible study on Noah this week, and this one verse, describing God’s decision to wipe out mankind because of their wickedness, really messed me up:

“The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”

What God had said just five chapters earlier as “very good” now filled His heart with grief and pain. You can really start to get the idea that this act of judgement sends tremors of grief throughout God’s being. When we condemn, there should be a gut wrenching pain in our hearts, because we know the price of such judgement and assertion of righteousness. If you don’t feel that pain, don’t condemn, because you don’t know the price of doing so.

The reason I am so silent and I don’t “speak out” against wickedness is because I feel a gut wrenching pain in my heart (or if I don’t feel it, I know I need it).This is not something I want to prove or say, although it is a stance I may just have to take. It’s not something I feel pride for, and it just makes me want to vomit everytime I see somebody have this look of pride and entitlement after they’ve made their proclamation of righteousness.

I’m not perfect at this either. But I’d rather be messing up in the blurry, gray tension between extreme love and righteousness than in a cut and dry lifeless judgement devoid of any love.

This was meant to be a one line rant. One of those ambiguous, passive aggressive, emo and deeply philosophical sounding statements that I think girls will swoon over. Because I thought we had grown out of this, and I didn’t need to say anything more than one line. But I discover that a lot is spilling out of my mouth lately (rather… keyboard strokes spilling out of my fingers). Maybe I’ve just not talked about this in too long.

But the one line perhaps would have been:

“Our standards of righteousness cannot define who or how we love. Instead, love must inform our standards and expressions of righteousness.”

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4 thoughts on “broken silence.

  1. Michelle Wilson says:

    I can’t imagine this pissing people off. (And yet lately I find that my imagination for what might offend people is much too small.) This is well said and thought provoking and shows the heart of Christ in you. I’m glad you stayed up late to write it and hope you can engage people in this dream of loving like Jesus.

    I have a suggestion. (I am a relentless critic, and so I am picking out one sentence I have questions about among a sea of wonderfully expressed thoughts I agree with.) Since the vast majority of abortions are not related to rape (though I myself was once raped and humiliated by a man I thought I could trust and appreciate your thinking about that pain), I would approach compassion for the woman wanting an abortion more from the perspective of getting to know a woman with and unwanted pregnancy for whom life as she knows it is about to be entirely over . . .

    I want to say something about being friends with homosexuals too. I wonder if people would say any of the things they say in public to a friend or relative who is gay if that person was actually there? Imagine if Christians thought about the feelings of real people they knew and loved before they spoke and measured their words accordingly. Let’s defend Godly use of our bodies in a way that is genuinely compassionate toward the very people to whom Jesus came to bring a message of love and hope. And let’s do it with humility and personal repentance.

  2. daniel says:

    Good points Daniel. Thanks.

  3. Sophie says:

    Hey, this is very good.
    I agree with you that for Christians trying to change the world by criminalizing a bunch of things is going about things in a backwards manner. You can’t change society that way.
    I will forward this to some friends.

  4. e* says:

    I keep coming back to this entry and reading it over and over, but finally commenting haha…it really says a lot of the things I’ve been feeling inside, but haven’t been able to put in words, as you know two of my closest friends are gay. Prop 8 has really torn me up in many ways.

    This struck with me the most: It’s easier to condemn a gay lifestyle when you haven’t actually made friends with a gay person.

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