"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis

Monday, July 4, 2011

Judgmental love

Over the past days and weeks, I have had multiple conversations with different friends about, essentially, conversion. In the barest sense, if you believe something to be true, is it judgmental or is it loving to try to convince them of your viewpoint? Can a judgment about truth and an attitude of love even be found in the same person?

If we disagree about a matter of fundamental importance and truth, and what you believe is true—and clearly you think so, or you would not believe it—and it is contrary to what I believe, then what I believe is wrong; there is just no way around it: either black is white or it isn’t. In the context of the most important truth-decision one can ever make, either Jesus is the only way to God or He isn’t. And if I’m wrong—if Jesus is not the only way to a restored relationship with God—then I am believing a devastating lie and I ask you, truly, to please, please spend your life trying to convert me and change my mind—it would be your first and last duty to Truth itself. But, then, the same goes for me—if I am right—or if anyone is truly right—it is their only duty to try to help others see the truth. I have not the slightest problem with people trying to convert each other; it is when they do not that I become truly afraid.

Can such a truth-judgment exist in love? Can I lovingly seek to convert? I deeply believe both can be done— that’s what I believe Jesus does, and if I did not believe this, I could not ever seek to convert another. He shares Truth, I seek to share Truth. Yet, some things are wrong, clearly—murder, rape, abuse—we know in our souls those should not be. So we can judge those things as wrong, but not “judge” them arbitrarily, but on an impartial standard of what we know is right. At the same time, Jesus loves unconditionally, or He never would have given up His state of pure glory to bring us back Home. This is my own cry—to love no matter what the person believes, to love no matter what they say and no matter what they do, to love and love and love until my dying day and my eyesight fails and my breath fades away, because ultimately, Love is what saved me and Love is my life and Love is my Lord and I myself am the Beloved, and I cannot stop for the pure Love that lives within me—for Love is life itself.