We're getting towards the end of winter here in North America, and it's been unseasonably warm this week. The snow is almost completely melted, except for an enormous pile of frozen, grey sludge in the corner of every parking lot of every shopping centre. As the snow recedes, the winter-time sins of the city's citizens are revealed: litter and garbage, unscooped dog poop, and countless lost mittens and hats. Snow covers a multitude of municipal sins, it seems.
Love also covers a multitude of sins. But happens when the love recedes? Or when there wasn't enough love in the first place?
I'm a kind and understanding person, I think, but I absolutely cannot fathom why some of my friends hold certain opinions regarding guns / politics / gender equality / the rapture / The Last Jedi / etc. Typically, the people I interact with most often are close friends, and there is sufficient love between us to cover anything we might disagree upon; the bond is strong. But Facebook presents me with the opinions of many people were the bond is weak and the rage is strong.
Unkind words are said. The simple reality is that there is not enough love in the relationship to cover our disagreement. So what are we to do when there just isn't enough love to cover any sins at all? I think we have two choices:
1. Toss the relationship
If there's not enough love in your relationship today, there's probably a reason for that. Maybe you never had similar enough interests to get to know one another very well in the first place. Maybe you were friends once, but over the course of time you both drifted apart and today your love has grown cold. Or maybe you thought you were good friends, but you never knew how strongly this disagreement would affect you. Maybe you didn't know your friend (or yourself) as well as you thought you did. Maybe you are not even remotely friends, but Facebook keeps putting their garbage in your news feed anyway. So forget about them. You have lots of other friends anyway. Move on.
2. Invest in the relationship
You can inject more love into the relationship by laying down your arguments, your right to be respected, and your right to have the right answer. Practice serving the other person in self-sacrificial love. Perfect love casts out fear, including the fear of rejection, the fear of vulnerability, and the fear of disagreement. Thankfully, you don't have to love perfectly, since God already does. Tap into his never-ending stream. There's no guarantee that anyone's opinion will change, but there's a very good chance that you'll find yourself drawing closer to Jesus as you love someone the way he loves everyone. When that happens, you'll learn to see the other person as a beautiful human being made in God's image. And there's no better foundation than that to learn how to build relationships that can whether sharp disagreements.
Love covers a multitude of sins. If one of your relationships can't tolerate something that has happened between you, then there's not enough love in it. You can choose to walk away, or to dig deep. One path is easy but has no rewards. The other path is difficult, but you will draw closer to the very creator of the Universe and learn to see the world the way he sees it.