How dare you tell someone what they can and cannot do with their own body? How dare you tell someone that their desires are either acceptable or inappropriate. How dare you tell someone that what they feel deeply is not who they are? How dare you say to someone that their understanding of morality is wrong?
There is an answer to such questions: love. It is not hate; it is love. Love for the Lord and love for neighbor requires that those who follow the Lord tell the truth about issues that have society in a state of constant conflict.
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
God commands us to love. In fact, as Paul writes under inspiration to the Roman church, he calls on the church to owe no debt at all except the debt of love. Jesus himself said that the second greatest commandment, the one just after loving God with everything you’ve got, is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Sadly, we have become a society that cannot receive any limitation as love. We have developed a cultural mindset that suggests that any criticism of any person’s internal desires or any questioning of a person’s internal “reality’ is considered hateful and harmful. But we must grasp that such thinking is not old but new, not based on objective truth but on internal feeling, and certainly not from God.
While society around us would say that the way to love a person is to accept anything they believe about themselves and anything they desire to do, the word of God equates loving them with the law of God. Paul summarizes the latter portion of the Ten Commandments with a simple call to love your neighbor as yourself. This means that God sees limiting human behavior, even calling people to oppose sinful desires, as love, not hate. God’s laws, God’s ways, God’s standards are tied to the love of God. While many among mankind bristle at this truth, God has never changed it to accommodate our inborn rebellion against him.
Love is the fulfillment of the law. But love is not the rejection of the standards of God in order to make a person feel better about themselves. No Christian can love another person and support them in actions or choices that lead to destruction. If it is true that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), then an application of the standards of God to point out that sin and to turn people from it is loving. Of course, we know that no person is saved through obedience to the law (Rom 3:20), but this does not mean we ignore the word of God. Instead, we bring the word and ways of God to bear on a life to help others see their deep need for a Savior and to help them to do less harm to themselves in this life. We believe that the God who created us knows what will harm us even when we do not agree. And we know that the God who made us has provided the only possible Savior who can rescue all of us from our sins.
Christian friends, do not be ashamed of the word and the ways of God. Even if proclaiming the word of God puts us out-of-step with a culture that celebrates wickedness. Never be cruel. Never be hateful. Never be nasty. Just tell the truth like Jesus. Just lift up the words of God like Jesus. Just call people to repent and believe like Jesus called them to do. You owe others a debt to love your neighbor as yourself. You cannot fulfill that debt without the gospel. And you cannot fulfill that debt ignoring the law of God.