The greatest commandment is love. This sound bite from Scripture can lead us to wrong conclusions. Sound bites often do.
Some believe we would be more in the center of God’s loving will if we accepted sinners rather than making them feel bad about their sin. Welcome the homosexual, welcome the thief, and express love rather than condemnation. They assert love is a higher calling than strict adherence to Biblical inerrancy.
Rather than a sound-bite approach let me quote to you the passage in question.
Matthew 22:37-40 (HCSB)
Jesus said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
Love God first then love others. Any attempt to love others while disrespecting God misses the mark. The problem is not really being forced to choose between love and the Bible. If we analyze the problem this way we are claiming a person has to choose, love God or love others.
We would be better off determining how to love others without disrespecting God or His revealed word. If a person is known to participate in a particular sin they are always welcome to attend our church. However, they must be willing to hear some sermons which condemn their sin.
If we do not call them to repentance we are hating them—hating them really big, eternally hating them, as in leaving them hell-bound. So instead of reducing the problem to love vs. Scripture, make the goal to change lives. Changing lives is what Jesus was all about. Practice saying it well and gently but tell the truth about sin, all sin.
It is a lie to believe love must overlook sin. Real love addresses hard truths. Failing to tell the truth is inherently unloving. This choice abandons sinners and disrespects God who called us to preach His Word to the lost world.