The so-called law of attraction postulates that like attracts like. For centuries this was presumed to be so and certainly there is truth to it. Fast forward to 1950 and a sociologist named Robert F. Winch introduces a theory that “opposites attract”. There is sufficient data to prove that at any given moment both may be true. But can this be true when the subject is connected to matters of religion? Is it possible for religious opposites to respect one another?
A friend of mine (who happens to be an Atheist) recently wrote a piece entitled The Difficulty of Respect, trying to get to the heart of these questions. His thoughts drove me back to my own thinking about why/how I am able to maintain genuine friendships with people who, not only do not believe what I do, but may even believe the opposite of what I believe… in terms of faith.
In my view, the answer is as simple and complex as the title of this post. True love is unconditional love. It isn’t merely lip service… saying I love someone. It isn’t love according to the law of attraction… loving only or primarily those who look like me (spiritually). True love exceeds polarity! I have previously written on this subject in similar fashion HERE.
Here is a brief bullet-point summary of how I try to live this out…
- love doesn’t ignore polarity
- love doesn’t force-feed religion
- love doesn’t hide differences
- love does seek to hear the perspective of others (especially when we don’t agree)
- love does welcome opportunities to answer faith questions (when they are asked)
- love does love someone whether or not they ever share my views on faith
I’ve lost some friends because of this thinking. Sadly all of them were Christians. Sadly they don’t understand the nature of the love that the Bible teaches. I understand that this kind of love is difficult to live out… for some of us more than others. But this is the way of Jesus. And as I always like to say, if the gospel (good news) matters, it has to matter in context. If you tell people that Jesus loves them, but you will not, what is that? Polarity is real. Especially in our current culture we have viewpoints that diametrically oppose one another. Biblical love exceeds polarity.