Rules are the old Christian. And by rules I mean “any rule-by-which-we-always-find-ourselves-deemed-inadequate” is the old Christian.
And by old I mean since before Jesus fulfilled the law.
Love is the new Christian.
And by love I mean complete, unconditional acceptance, embrace, warmth — you know, all the things Jesus did, even to those considered sinners by society and/or actual sinners- and especially to those marginalized and oppressed.
By love I mean connection, community, relationship. By love I mean treating people the way we wish we would be treated if we were in that situation.
Not some convoluted ‘tough love’ that justifies rejecting someone so they’ll change or hurting someone so they’ll comply with your desires.
That’s not love at all. That’s self-focused, self-righteous manipulation and control.
You don’t have to agree with someone to love them. You just have to love them. Unconditionally.
The most unloving thing we can do is disengage, not care, walk away, shun. That is not how Jesus dealt with — or deals with — any of us.
Love is the very picture of Christ, the very essence of Christ.
Love is always the goal. Love is always the means. Love is always the way.
Love never, ever fails.
[To read more from Susan Cottrell, visit www.FreedHearts.org]
SUSAN COTTRELL is a national speaker, teacher, and counselor with years of Biblical study and discipleship experience. Her books include: Mom, I’m Gay – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith, as well as How Not to Lose Your Teen and The Marriage Renovation. Through her nonprofit organization – FreedHearts.org – Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that “loving God and loving others” are the foundation of the rest of the scripture, just as Jesus said.
She is the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin, and her “Mom, I’m Gay” book has been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign and others. Sharon Groves, PhD, HRC’s Religion & Faith Program Director says, “I often get asked by parents for resources that can address the struggles of raising LGBT sons and daughters without having to leave faith behind. Susan Cottrell’s book, Mom, I’m Gay, does just that. This is the kind of book that parents will love.”
She and her husband have been married more than 25 years and have five children – one of whom is in the LGBTQ community. She lives in Austin, Texas, and blogs at FreedHearts.org and here in IMPACT Magazine’s FreedHearts and Jesus Blog columns.