Ray Rooney, Jr.: Love: The Intolerable Compliment
Thursday, August 01, 2013 5:01 PM

I oppose the legitimization of homosexuality, the practice of abortion, amnesty for people who are in this country illegally, equating Islam with peace, and the myth that our Founding Fathers attempted to put in place a Christianity-free America (translated as Christians should keep their religious beliefs and practices to themselves and hidden from view).  The ironic thing about it is my opposition is based upon the same thing as those who are promoting these issues!  Love.

You see, I don’t get my definition of love from Hollywood (“Love is never having to say you’re sorry”) or the music industry (“All You Need Is Love”).  Nor do I accept the idea many in the Church tout that love means being accepting of anything people believe in or wish to engage in.  My understanding of love is from a biblical perspective  and that it is “a relationship of self-giving.”  Demanding acceptance and/or acquiescence of or by others is hardly indicative of either a relationship or being self-giving. 

Most biblical scholars agree that the earliest of the four gospels is Mark.  The second and third sentences Mark has Jesus saying are “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” (Mark 1:15b,c).  If love means accepting people as they are then surely Jesus was wrong to instruct people to repent.  If love means embracing people despite their predilections and practices then Jesus should have said something like, “Let’s celebrate the arrival of God’s Kingdom regardless of what you believe and how you behave!”  Instead we have John the Baptist preparing the way for Christ by preaching “that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven” (Mark 1:4b) followed by Christ Himself urging people to turn away from their sins.  If people do not wish to call practices the Bible clearly identifies to be transgressions of His will and therefore sin, then that is their prerogative and business.  But they cannot then turn right around and use what Scripture says about love to demand their way (i.e. 1 Corinthians 13).  Or to insist that as a Christian I must be accepting, stepping aside as they seek to add the force of law to their beliefs, behaviors, and practices.

In The Problem of Pain C.S. Lewis says, “God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.”  Did you catch that?  “[T]he intolerable compliment.”  Love’s first priority is meeting our needs (from God’s perspective) not accepting our wants and desires.  Love is a transformative experience; not a self-perpetuating one. 

Godly love will not tolerate hatred of people who embrace any sin(s).  Though I oppose the practice of homosexuality, love will not permit me to despise the homosexual.  But neither will it allow me to acknowledge it as anything but sin.  Love will not permit me to accept the promulgation of sin.  That is to say, love prompts me to oppose homosexuality as normative or as a legitimate means of expressing human sexuality.  I will not raise my hand against a homosexual but I will raise my objection…because of love.  The same goes for abortion, those who came here illegally and believe they have the right to stay here, those who think I should subject myself and my family to Islamic sharia law, and those who are trying to rewrite history to fit their politics.  Love compels me to say, “That’s not right.” 

In the dim recesses of our communal memory there is a voice trying to convince us that God’s job is to accede to every human desire.  If what we want isn’t what God is willing to provide then something is amiss either with God or our understanding of Him… “Did God really say you must not…” Love replies, “Yes He did and I stand by His Word.”

Ray Rooney, Jr.



Achtemeier, Paul J. The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Norwalk, Connecticut: The Easton Press, 1985, p. 625.

Lewis, C.S. The Problem of Pain. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1940, pp. 46-47.