I love you, but I don't have to love what you do...

I recently watched TLC's "Breaking Amish" series on Netflix. I'm not sure why it intrigued me. Most of it kind of irritated me...way too much drama and bad attitudes. But it spurred on some interesting thoughts, hence this blog post.

"Breaking Amish" chronicles the story of five young Amish/Mennonite people that leave their communities and set off into the outside world. Their journey takes them to New York City as a start, where they get a huge culture shock and dive head first into all that the "English" lifestyle has to offer.

The series is not without plenty of drama, and I found myself fast forwarding a lot. But I think the thing that intrigued me most was the interactions with their families before and after their escapades.

Before they left for the big city, each one was spoken to by one or more family members. They were all told that if they went out and did the things they were planning to, that they would be shunned. When they returned, they were shocked to find that their families would no longer speak to them. One girl's friends even ran from her with their hands on their faces like blinders when they saw her approach in her English clothing. She was heartbroken.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not in any way saying that the Amish lifestyle is right. I disagree with their biblical beliefs entirely, and if I ever had the chance to become friends with someone from that community, I would greatly encourage them to leave.

But the attitudes of  those kids with their families had me shaking my head.

Dude...what did you think was going to happen?

They told you they were not okay with what you were doing. You knew it was against everything they believed in, and you still went on your merry way and did whatever the heck you wanted. Sure, you should be able to make a life for yourself and make decisions on your own. But then to come home and demand that the people who gave you a good and fair warning be tolerant of your new lifestyle? Sorry. It doesn't work that way.

Here is where I believe we have the biggest problem in society today. Everyone wants acceptance and believes that it shouldn't matter what anyone does, you should love and accept them anyways. Maybe some people are okay with this sort of mindset. Heaven knows the media and all the liberal/feminist/feel good junkies of the country are all about just accepting people for "who they are" (aka what they decide to do with their lives). But for me, that's not how it works.

May this be a declaration to my friends and family.

I love you. I will always love you.

But I do not have to love what you do.

I do not have to accept the lifestyles, habits, addictions, choices, or sexual partners you choose to associate with.
I do not have to be okay with the words you use, the friends you hang out with, or your lack of Biblical influence and devotion.
I don't have to tolerate your attitude.
I don't have to act like everything is okay when you are blatantly being disrespectful, partaking in things I don't agree with or living in a way that is opposite of everything I hold dear and important to me.

Love does not equal acceptance. I can love you, the person I have always loved and will continue to. But that doesn't mean I have to accept that you are doing all the things I am against.

Where does grace fit in, you ask? Grace does not gloss over wrong. Grace loves and encourages to do the right thing. Grace does not just leave a person in their pit, afraid to say anything contrary because that person might be offended. Grace loves in spite of wrong, but is not tolerant of it. Grace encourages change and restoration.

So while you are out there finding yourself, remember that I am here with a willing ear and warm hug. I will always love you, but I will never stop praying for you, encouraging you to do the right thing, and hating all the horrid things that are trapping you and keeping you from a rich, fulfilling life in Christ.



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