We Christians love you. Really, we do. You just might not love the way we show that love.
Some of God’s children may have a bad way of communicating it, not to mention the damage that was done by those who merely claim to be Christians.
We read, see, and hear a lot about love these days, but that word has multiple meanings in the English language. Merriam-Webster defines love as “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.” Merriam-Webster also says love “can be an attraction that includes sexual desire.” However, love can also mean “an unselfish, loyal or benevolent concern for the good of another.” That is where Christians come into play.
Christians believe in a heaven and a hell existing beyond this world, and that those who do not repent and ask Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior will go to Hell when they die. That is why, for Christians, the most loving thing we can do for someone is to tell them about sin, Jesus, salvation, redemption, and heaven.
Why do we take this as fact? The Bible tells us all men are sinners (Romans 3:23) and sin must be paid for (Romans 6:23), but that is a check no one can write. The good news is that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God came to Earth, taught us how to live, and paid for our sin by willingly going to the cross to be crucified (Romans 5:8).
This does not mean humans have a clean slate and can live how we choose. We must individually pray to receive Christ as our Savior (Romans 10:13). Meanwhile, we are not perfect individuals, and professing Christians who do wrong must still acknowledge their actions and ask forgiveness.
This balance of self-responsibility and grace can be seen throughout Scripture. Look at Mark 10:17-24. A wealthy man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus cites a number of commandments, including “Do not kill, do not steal, [and] do not bear false witness.” The rich man responds with, “All these have I kept since I was a boy.” Notice that in verse 21 (KJV and NIV) Jesus looks at him and lovingly says, “Yet there is one thing you lack.” Jesus goes on to instruct the man to sell everything he has and give to the poor.
The point of this is to show that Jesus had unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another, and He corrected a man out of genuine love. Jesus also had unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for humanity when He went to the cross to die for our sins.
When true Christians tell you about sin, and the ramifications for living in a way God does not approve, they do not hate you. If they hated you, they would never tell you about sin. They would not tell you how repentance and faith in Jesus Christ can change a person for the better. Meanwhile, Christians come out of all kinds of sinful lifestyles, as they have done for centuries. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to remind people in the early church that they too were dead in trespasses and sins prior to their profession of faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1, Titus 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:11). To be perfectly honest, we are still sinners today. But thanks to Jesus Christ, we know that our pasts will not keep us from what lies ahead in heaven. That is why we love you enough to tell you about these matters, and we will love you as we strive alongside each other to live them out.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).