Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Love" Does Not Mean "Compromise."

Someone posted an article on Facebook about the Christian Bed and Breakfast owners in England who lost in court after they stood up for their convictions. They ended up having to sell their business.
The Facebook post brought a number of comments, and there was a very interesting one that criticized the Christian couple by using the text of 1 Corinthians 13, basically implying  that if we operate by love, we will be accepting of others, no matter what. Below is a combination of two comments I made to the post.
1 Corinthians 13 is generally considered "The Love Chapter," and it makes some great statements about love in general, but if that is all we see there, we are isolating it, using it out of context, and are missing the point. Chapter 13 is in the middle of a longer passage (Chapters 12-14) dealing with spiritual gifts within the Body of Christ. Chapter 13 teaches us that the use of spiritual gifts is only profitable and beneficial to the body if they are used in a context of love.
It is not possible to find anything in this chapter, or anywhere else in Scripture, that justifies giving tacit approval to things that God says are wrong. “Love” does not mean compromising with the world’s philosophies, lifestyles, or standards. There is a great deal said today about "tolerance" in our culture, and it is usually Christians who are told they need to be tolerant. We rarely hear about any necessity for people to be tolerant of Christians. In reality, the majority of Christians are the most tolerant of people.
The meaning of the word “tolerance” has been changed by many to mean "approval." In reality, the actual meaning of the word implies that we only tolerate that with which we disagree. I can tolerate people with whom I disagree without giving my approval of their lifestyle, doctrine, etc.  I can be tolerant of a person but be utterly in disagreement with their lifestyle or beliefs. If I approve of everything someone does, I am no longer tolerating them, I am agreeing with them.
To truly tolerate someone with whom we disagree means we do not try to destroy their property or to hurt or kill them. Instead, we recognize their freedom to do what they are doing, but we do not have to agree with them. If someone says, “You have to be tolerant and accept what I do,” that individual has no comprehension of the meaning of “tolerance.” If a believer accepts someone’s sinful lifestyle, then that believer is not loving the other individual in any way. That is no more a way to show love than an overindulgent parent is showing love when he allows his children to do things that are harmful to themselves. Overindulgence is not love. Approving of sin is not love. Real love is tied to the truth.
There are things taking place that I can do nothing about other than stand faithfully for the truth of the Gospel. I can tolerate people, who were made in God's image, without agreeing with their behavior. When government gives “hearty approval” to evil, it has stepped over a line. “...they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32, NASB). I cannot put a stop to behavior with which I disagree, but I do not have to give it my approval by allowing it in my house. Those who wish to do those things can go elsewhere.
From what I have read on the subject, the people involved in this situation did what they needed to do in order to be consistent with their convictions. That is a basic tenet of freedom. There used to be, and maybe there still are a few, signs displayed in places of business that say “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” In reality, that is consistent with biblical truth. In Matthew 20, Jesus told the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. The owner of the vineyard made equal payments to all who worked that day, from those who had worked all day to those who had only worked one hour. Some of those he hired were saying things very similar to what people would be saying today. “Not fair! Not fair! I’ll call the union,” etc. But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’” (Matthew 20, 13-15, NASB). From the narrative, it is clear the Jesus approved of this man doing what he wished with what was his own. Private property, and the use of private property, is a biblical principle. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?” is a biblical way to express “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
It is not the responsibility of every business to provide services to everyone. For example, I don't go into shops that sell incense, candles, and other New Age paraphernalia, but I also don't try to deny their right to have a store just because they don't meet my needs. I go to other stores. The lawsuits that are allowed these days border on insanity. It is up to the customers to find a store or business that suits them rather than trying to force every business to change to meet their individual needs. We need to allow the free market to take care of such things. If there is a demand, someone will supply it. If a business doesn't have enough customers, it will be out of business. Government needs to stay out of such things.
If I were ever to go into a store that had a sign posted that said, “We don’t sell to or serve Christians,” I would politely take my business elsewhere. If they don’t want my money, that would be fine with me. It’s their loss. I would not raise a ruckus or sue them. Instead, I would pity them and pray for them, because being anti-Christian means being anti-Jesus Christ, which means they need Him as Savior. Not only would they lose out on a sale, they would also be losing out on salvation because of their unbelief. As Christians, there needs to be a difference between how we handle such matters and how unbelievers handle them.
It was rightly pointed out by another commenter that 1 Corinthians 13:6 says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”


  1. That commonly posted sign, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone," I fear is no longer a right and may soon be deemed illegal for any or all reasons. The truth is, today there is very little enjoyment of private property rights and freedoms. Anyone who even "feels" offended can make complaint that could be interpreted as discriminatory, intolerant, or hateful.

  2. In my store, I am very accepting, and tolerant of the most hated, despised, and abused people in the country today. If you are a working, straight, white, constitutional conservative Christian, you are welcome in our store.


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