I love Chip Gaines’ collected, above-the-fray response to BuzzFeed bringing up a “scandal” involving his pastor’s view on homosexuality.
I love it that Chip gently but strongly declined to get caught up in looking for division lines instead of commonality.
I love how he encouraged his readers to not buy into the lie our differing views should, at all times, pit us against each other.
In the aftermath of the inauguration, it sure does seem to me we all need to embrace Gaines’ perspective now more than ever. Because he’s right — we have bought into the lie.
Real, soul-moving love does not exist because of agreement. It exists in spite of disagreement. Which is how you know it’s genuine. For what good does it do the world when you love only those who are like-minded? Such action indicates your love is conditional, ending as soon as discomfort begins.
But real love is unconditional and uncomfortable. To love genuinely is to love despite hurt. To love genuinely is to see past faults, real or perceived, and to find that one reason why the other person has as much intrinsic value as you. Love does not mean you compromise your values or bend with the wind of public opinion. Nor does it mean you must agree with the other person’s choices or forget the hurt they have caused you.
But it does mean love covers the hurt. It means when all else is weighed, love is the greatest. I see this kind of love play out in one special friendship of my own, with my dear friend, Beth.
Within five minutes of meeting Beth more than a decade ago, I knew exactly we could not be more opposite in our views of several things, including politics and that perennially divisive topic of homosexuality. But it didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Even when each of us rallies behind our views, rallies behind those leaders and people who align with our views.
The other person’s friendship means more to us than social categorization.
We have seen each other through lots of joy as well as suffering in the last 10 years: my wedding, the births of our children, the deaths of our fathers, job changes, parent issues, health scares, husbands, and boss drama. We have been each other’s confidant, sounding board, lunch partner, loyal fan, and prayer warrior — for more than a decade.
What if we all pursued friendships with others who are on the other side of any issue that tends to divide? What if we truly saw past opinions, life choices, disagreements, hurts, mistakes and our own flippin’ ego?
What if grace really was part of how we loved?
The thing is, I believe it is. I believe there are countless stories of relationships in this world that PROVE the existence of genuine, grace-filled love. Relationships like that between Beth and me. I believe strongly such relationships should be openly celebrated, louder than the stories of division, because I believe strongly as humans we crave such stories. We need such stories to restore our right perspective of humanity.
I believe Chip Gains himself has such a story, or three.
So what if we did share them? What if we did say individually, “I will promote genuine love instead of agreement love?”
What would we gain from such sharing? I believe: each other. That’s what we would gain.
Because what hate and division rip away, love gaines back.
Yes. Love gaines (pun intended).
What better time to celebrate Love Gaines stories than in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day? What better time to share our stories, talk about them, celebrate them.
Because now more than ever, it matters.