Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Love, More Powerful than Principle
Recently I had a conversation with a dear friend about an upcoming event in their lives that they choose not to attend. The choice was based on principle. They are strong christians and believed that by not attending the event they were making a strong stand on what they believed.
Often times in life we have these choices to make. We have our strong Christian standards that come hell or high water we will maintain no matter what the cost.
My purpose of this blog is to remind us that Love in more powerful than principle.
I totally get the fact that we have to stay true to our standards. I totally understand that we have to be true to what we believe and I get the fact that we have be true to the faith. But on the other hand when principle totally overlooks love, I have issues.
Often times I get frustrated with our culture where Principle is the guiding factor, meaning that the rules often over look the person and in the process the person is left hurt, confused, and wondering what is up. I am not saying that Principle is not important.
Our good intentions to be right and live up to our Principles often do more damage than good. We need to ask ourselves what motivates our actions. Is it love or principle. Nothing wrong with principle as long as it is motivated by love and not by self righteous or prideful judgment.
I realized something the other day. Often times when someone ask us to do something that is against our belief, what they are really asking is, "Do you love me more than the principle, or is the principle more important than your love for me"? Most often the offender already knows how you feel and what your standing is, they are just checking to see where your heart is.
Let me give you an example. Recently a friend expressed how they had told their son that they would not be attending his wedding. It was against everything they believed. Their son is getting married to another man. I can see perfectly how that would go against all they believe. Having thought about it I decided that here was a great example.
Chances are the son knows exactly how the parents feel, the son was raised in the same faith and knows he has broken their hearts. Yet he asked them to attend. Common sense would dictate that they should not go. After all it is against all their principles and standards. The son knows this. One might ask why would he even bother asking when is knows just how they feel.
In defense of the Parents. I get it, it would be devastating to have a son tell you he was getting married to a man. His parents, their entire lives have been taught how wrong that is and it goes against all they believe. It would be a huge challenge to support something so against all they believe. They honestly feel justified in their choice not to attend and they feel that not going sends a message to their son that they do not approve and to all the family it sends the message that they are faithful and will not be taken off course.
I admire the courage it takes to take a stand, but let’s take a look at it in a different light. What is the message they are really sending to their son and family. The message is that principle is more important than the person. Love comes in second to principle. Sorry, you may be saying now that it is love when we stand our ground and stay true to our beliefs.
Can we have both, principle and love. Yes, I firmly believe that we can. I believe that we can hold to our principle and love at the same time. I don't think we have to comprise who we are or how we feel or what we believe when others do things we are not comfortable with.
In regards to the parents who's son is marrying a man. I believe the son knows perfectly well where the parents stand. I think that when he was asking for them to come he was really asking how much do they love him. The parents could express their views and beliefs, and express that coming to the event does not change their values. Going does not mean they embrace the lifestyle and that it is not their choice. Having expressed that the parents could then tell the son that in view of all that they will attend because the love for the him outweighs the choice he has made.
That in no way condones his choice, but it does validate their love for their son despite his choice. That in no way takes away the faith and commitment to what they believe, in fact that adds credibility to their faith and beliefs, especially when it is a christian belief.
Can you see the message they are sending their son and family now. They are saying that Love is more powerful than principle. That the love of the family is the most important thing ever and no matter what the choice their children make, they are there for them, to love them, even when they make choices that they do not condone, or want, or understand.
In no way am I condoning or justifying behaviors of others that go against personal and religious beliefs. All I am saying is that often times choices others make are out of our control and when that happens we have a choice. To abandon and shun them, cutting them out of our lives and taking ourselves out of their lives. Or we can stay true to what we believe and stand strong in our standards never wavering, and at the same time love them. That does not mean we have to embrace the lifestyle or choices they make, but it does mean we can still love and honor them for who they are despite choices they make that we might not understand or believe. And in the process we can still maintain our personal standards and beliefs.
Whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ, he was and is the perfect example. He never shunned or shamed the sinner. If you remember he choose to with them that had different beliefs and standards then he did. He understood that love and acceptance does not involve lowering your standards, in fact as we love others, it adds strength to our standards and it adds power to our ability to love and lift. How can we possibly love as the Savior did when we place the principle over the person. He never lowered his standard, but loved and lifted others by loving them even when their choices were not his.
The long term effects of our loving others regardless of the choices they may make far out weigh the short term effects of our standing firm to our precious principles.
Love should always be stronger and more important than principle. Love is the power that changes lives, softens hearts, and cements family hearts together forever. Principles are important and powerful, but if they divide the family, where is the value in our principles?
I believe with all my heart that Love is more powerful than Principle. And as we love regardless of choices others make, our hearts are filled with grace and joy.
Please feel free to comment below.