Recent conversations with friends who have very different philosophies and worldviews from me, have reminded me how, at the core of most human experience is this longing to be accepted, to be received for who we are, to be embraced in all our grit and glory.
And yet, dissimilarities in perspective can easily be so divisive, hindering relationship as we navigate the conflicting issues. However, when we find acceptance and love from someone whose beliefs are on the opposite spectrum from us, it is striking and profound.
I have actually become most convinced of this through my friend, Jen, who is an atheist; she does not believe in God or heaven, and is far from embracing a Christian worldview. Yet, her love for me since I met her a couple years ago has been uncommon and weighty.
Though she vehemently disagrees with many of the tenets of life I hold to be true, she has proven to be an incredibly faithful friend. She may not embrace my beliefs but she certainly embraces me—seeing into my pain, recognizing what is important to me, and supporting me in every way she possibly can. In fact, even though my ideas regularly fly in the face of her worldview, she has remained a devoted reader of my blog and loyal supporter of Judson’s book, simply because she knows it means something to me.
This type of acceptance is genuine love.
In fact, I would venture to say Jen has recently been one of the greatest models of Christ’s love in my life, though she herself does not believe in Jesus.
I have seen so many circumstances where significant diversity of viewpoint leads to hurt and rejection. But, conversely, where there is sincere acceptance and love, it is incredibly powerful and transforming.
I pray for the strength of character to regularly exhibit this kind of love.