It’s Only Out of Love That I Judge You
Why Christian love hurts, dehumanizes and needs to be called out...
“There is nothing more hateful than Christian love.”
This phrase is a paradox, and people’s responses to it range from relief by those who have been hurt by it, to anger and offense toward those who feel they have the right to call their cruel and unacceptable behavior “love.”
My own spiritual journey finds me fluctuating on this spectrum as well. As someone who was deeply entrenched in their religious heritage, I was taught that I was spiritually superior to those who did not look, love or believe like I did. I had never considered the pain my words were inflicting, especially since I was saying exactly what I had been trained to say.
Now that I’ve deconstructed my conditioning and am healing from the trauma, I see how dangerous it is for a person to use divisive religious ideology to form their world view. It judges, dehumanizes, oppresses and condemns our fellow human beings.
In the wide chasm between these two perspectives are millions of people who are simply trying to navigate life without being under constant threat, particularly from those who believe their religious beliefs should dictate the governance of an entire nation.
The former are now the majority in this country. The data indisputably reveals that more of us prefer to live outside the restrictive construct of organized religion.
What does that mean?
It means America is officially unchurched.
How we became so deserves its own space. But for today, it’s important to acknowledge this statistic as we begin breaking the chains that bind us to Christian “love”. We will hold accountable those who continue to wield hate toward the rest of us and reject their toxic theology that views the unchurched and non-Christian as morally and spiritually inferior.
As a parent, I’ll admit that I’ve resorted to “it’s only out of love” statements a time or two in my life. Let’s be honest, folks — surviving your child’s teen years takes patience, perseverance, and strong boundaries where they clearly have none and can’t see the danger of their actions.
In those “it’s only out of love” moments, I often reminded my children that I was not in their lives to be their best friend. My job as a parent was to protect, educate and nurture them until they were capable of making decisions for themselves. It often meant they were angry with me, and it wasn’t until years later that they saw the wisdom in the moments when I had to be “the bad guy”.
Now, from this perspective, the “it’s only out of love” admonishment of the Christian is absolutely outrageous. Their notion of being in a position of authority to determine what is best for people who are different from them is ludicrous, and frankly, supremacist.
They have no authority, moral or otherwise, over anyone outside of their own spiritual community or family, but their indoctrination has them believing otherwise. They are convinced that they not only have the right to judge and condemn others, but suppress their very existence.
When I have pointed out the absurdity in equating any of this to love, they’re quick to point out, as I once was, Paul’s letter to Timothy … or to the Galatians … or the Thessalonians …
and oh, please.
Those verses are clearly speaking of how spiritual communities are to teach, empower, instruct and live harmoniously together. There is absolutely nothing in the scriptures that suggests that Christians were instructed to behave as judge and jury for all of humanity.
Can you see how outlandish this is? Perhaps — and perhaps not. Because it wasn’t until I had deconstructed that I began to see it, myself.
It’s an arrogance that is hyperfocused on our imaginary moral and spiritual superiority.
It stung when I would hear it while inside Christianity, but now I understand why people accused us of acting like we were in an exclusive club instead of reflecting humility and love into the world.
Looking back, there were many red flags to alert me to the pain my faith was causing others. I mean, when you’re receiving instruction that Jesus’ words of “Judge not lest you be judged” does not impact how you judge the world outside your belief system, and you don’t question it ...
You are fully indoctrinated and looking only to the pulpit for your understanding of scripture and how it manifests in your life.
Right about here is where I would typically pause to exempt those Christians who aren’t.
But I'm going to be honest, friends.
I’m tired of being asked to defend the ones that are “good,” yet complicit with their tolerance of those who are not.
Those who sully their same faith by using it to cause deep harm.
I’m tired of witnessing the silence of the “good” Christian, while only those of us who have left to deconstruct are calling out the damage that has been done.
I’m tired of witnessing the call to return to church where the “good” Christians sit beside harmful ones and do nothing to push back on their hateful behavior.
I’m tired of doing the work that the “good” Christian refuses to do.
I’m now convinced that what needs to be done to fix Christianity will not be done inside the church. It will be done by those who deconstruct, heal from their religious trauma and regroup to establish spiritual communities that look nothing like the ones they left.
Inside this new, reconstructed theology, bigotry not only will not be tolerated, it will be shown the door.
Because it is truly out of love that we will hold space for all, regardless of the color of their skin, their sexual or gender authenticity, where they were born, or what they believe.
That is the way of Jesus.