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i know i will fail miserably in my life. i have already. i will again. and there are many questions i have about living rightly. i don't think the answers are as easy, or cut and dry as some make them out to be. some issues are pretty black and white, yes. but the edges are usually tinged with grey. i know i will err miserably when it comes to these things.

i want to err on the side of love. to err on the side of grace.

Jesus called us to love our neighbor. and he gave us quite the illustration about what that means in "the good samaritan". he tells us to love our enemies. he doesn't really leave much grey area when it comes to what we're called to do. but there is a lot of grey about how to truly love people. 

i think sometimes "love" is thrown out there as a free pass to do whatever you want. but that's not really love. nor is it love to simply "speak the truth" without any love to be found in it. people are broken. i know that because i've come across some of the best people, and they're still broken.

people are broken, and need love and grace. period. people need to be loved exactly where they are. they need continuous love even when they mess up. but what does it mean to love people where they are - even if they don't want to change?

it's one thing to love people who are on the road to what you believe, it's another thing entirely to love people who oppose you, don't apologize for it, and aren't about to change as far as we can tell.

love isn't a free pass to do whatever you want. there are a lot of things done in the name of love that are not truly love. love wants what is best for the other person. it is patient and kind. it does not envy or boast. it is not proud or rude. 

i could keep going, but the point is that happiness does not equal love. there are plenty of things that we think will make us happy that we chase after. and not only do they not make us particularly happy - happiness isn't the goal.

chasing after happiness usually leads to disappointment. happiness is a by-product, not an end-goal.

i remember hearing an illustration about a baby who had a major problem that required painful treatment, or he would die. and so, of course the parents opted for the treatments even though they were painful. they wanted what was best for their child because they loved him that much. even though it was awful and incredibly painful. they loved him enough to suffer through the treatment with him.

as a parent i hate the idea of that. i hate the idea of needing to watch one of my babies in that much pain, but if that's what one of my kids needed to survive, i would do it.

love isn't always what we make it out to be. but i'd rather err on the side of love, and the side of grace. it's really easy to err on the other side. it's human nature that we have to fight against. if it came naturally i don't think Jesus would have spent so much time telling us to do it.

sometimes it feels like we've gotten so busy, and so caught up in pointing fingers at the other side that we've forgotten that we're supposed to love people. regardless of what they think, what they believe, or how they act. 

there is a popular saying "love the sinner, hate the sin." one time i was talking with our pastor, and he said he tries to think "love the sinner, hate your own sin." because we all have planks in our own eye. and we're all stumbling around trying to pick out the specks of dust in the eyes of others. every single one of us.

i've struggled with this concept a lot lately. there are many ways and places where love has been touted, and many arguments have ensued over them. the issues may seem very clear-cut to proponents of both sides, but people on all sides are people, and i'm called to love them, and show them grace. even when i disagree with them.

and that is really really hard.



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