EDITOR’S NOTE: Recently, I was reminded of an excellent article by Eddie Boggess, “Is Conviction the Same As Hatred?” (Gospel Advocate, June 2016, pgs. 22-23). Brother Boggess noted, “For a society embracing political correctness on every issue, intolerance has become the unpardonable sin. To criticize the beliefs of others is to run the risk of being labeled a ‘hater’” (pg. 22). It is in keeping with these sentiments that I run the following article by brother Cecil May. I think that brother May speaks well to matters of importance to us all. – Dennis Gulledge.

            Just because two people believe differently, even if their difference concerns a really significant issue, that should not cause either to hate the other. Differences of viewpoints should call for rational, reasoned, respectful discussion. The Bible says such discussions should be conducted with gentleness and without arrogance (Galatians 6:1), with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:16). The very opposite of animosity and hatred!

            This is applicable to both political and religious discussions. Hatred is found at the extremes in current political discourse. Differences between political parties are usually based on policy differences, different practices advocated by the different parties. Why can there not be reasonable, respectful discussions of specific policy issues?

            Truth is a strong force. It has nothing to fear from a confrontation with error. In encounters with error, truth will always prevail, at least as judged by fair-minded people.

            Why is a simple affirmation of belief in traditional marriage, one man to one woman for life, something everyone believed just a few years ago, now labeled “hate speech,” regardless of the tone in which it is stated? Why is just quoting some particular verses of Scripture now called “hate speech”?

            We used to speak of “agreeing to disagree.” That does not mean we accept both contradictory viewpoints as valid. It just means that we continue reasonable, brotherly, respectful discussion about the disagreement, without rancor.

            In a conversation with a Christian friend, we discovered we differed concerning a matter which, in the long run, is of little significance. As the difference became obvious to both of us, my friend said, “Well I guess this means we won’t be friends anymore!” An extreme case, no doubt, but indicative of the trend! Not only is it assumed, if I express any difference with you that I hate you, it is also presumed that you should hate me also.

            Admittedly, I have strong convictions about a wide variety of opinions, and I rarely talk to anyone very long without finding something about which we do not agree. I am not ready, however, to hate or be hated by everyone else but me.

            Sexual relations of men with men and women with women are plainly declared by the Bible to be sin. I believe the Bible. I, however, do not hate those involved in such activity; I am forbidden by that same Bible to engage in hateful activities toward them; and I do not want to be hated by them.            Whatever happened to “Come let us reason together, says the Lord”? – Preacher Talk (Winter 2020).