And that's when it hit me like so much epiphany getting dislodged from my arteries. The problem with Christian culture is we think of love as a commodity. We use it like money. Professor Spencer was right, and not only was he right, I felt as though he had cured me, as though he had let me out of my cage. I could see it very clearly. If somebody is doing something for us, offering us something, be it gifts, time, popularity, or what have you, we feel they have value, we feel they are worth something to us, and, perhaps, we feel they are priceless. I could see it so clearly, and I could feel it in the pages of my life. This was the thing that had smelled so rotten all these years. I used love like money. The church used love like money. With love, we withheld affirmation from the people who did not agree with us, but we lavishly financed the ones who did. The next few days unfolded in a thick line of melancholy thought and introspection. I used love like money, but love doesn't work like money. It is not a commodity. When we barter with it, we all lose. When the church does not love its enemies, it fuels their rage. It makes them hate us more. ... I replaced economic metaphor, in my mind, with something different, a free gift metaphor or a magnet metaphor. That is, instead of withholding love to change somebody, I poured it on, lavishly. I hoped that love would work like a magnet, pulling people from the mire and toward healing. I knew this was the way God loved me. God had never withheld love to teach me a lesson. Here is something very simple about relationships that Spencer helped me discover: Nobody will listen to you unless they sense that you like them. If a person senses taht you do not like them, that you do not approve of their existence, then your religion and your political ideas will all seem wrong to them. If they sense that you like them, then they are open to what you have to say.
That is my favorite part so far. We show our disapproval of others, trying to change them. That's why we hear of people rejecting Christianity because they despise Christians; when Christians show nothing but loathing for them, how can we expect them to respond to the Gospel with such representatives? Why would they want to be part of a group that shows nothing but disdain for them? We must love them - unconditionally - in order to win them. My favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 9:19 - "Though I am free from all men, I make myself a servant unto all, that I might win the more." We must respect them. We must truly be Christ-like, loving everyone. It is our responsibility as Christians to love others, especially enemies. Loving them means not judging them. What right do we have to judge anyone? As a Christian, I know the truth, but that does not make me better than a nonbeliever. I do not have a right to be proud. I could be in their position; I was in their position. It is only by the grace of God that I am alive today and alive in Him.