News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

Archive for July, 2013

Cheating, young love, and enduring love

I’ve been reading some wonderful books by Elisabeth Oglevie, and I’m on the eleven of twelve in our library. Although there is certainly romance, the books are very tastefully written and family oriented — that is — with the exception of one book called the Seasons Here After. Each of the books can be read by itself, but many are in a series called the Bennet’s Island Saga. The one book I struggled to get through is called “The Seasons Here After” and is basically a book about an affair or cheating. I give her credit for trying to tackle this very difficult subject, but wow was it hard to read!

Certainly cheating is a big part of music and has been for a very long time. I even understand there’s a reality TV show called “Cheaters”. There are the same old lines used about leaving him/her at the right time which never seems to be now. Sometimes there’s a break, sometimes they are found out, and as in the case of the book, sometimes they go back to their spouses . I am tempted by a lot of things, but cheating has not been among them. I don’t believe it will be.

Recently a couple I know broke up, and there is a new relationship in the picture. I think it’s fair to say I don’t know any of the three people well, but I like them all very much. The marriage was the second for one of the parties, and a similar pattern seemingly occurred with the first marriage. It’s not my place to say whether cheating was involved, because I don’t know and don’t want to. I worry that a few years down the line, a similar pattern will emerge, but I would be so happy to be wrong — particularly after experiencing the new couple together in a public setting. I’ve certainly heard theories that cheating happens, because people want the feelings of young love again, and that sweet state is fleeting.

My heart was softened when I remembered the young love Phil and I shared long distance. Life was so exciting then, and probably for the first time in my life, I looked forward to getting up in the morning — particularly because we were both alive and in love. Being apart was agonizing, but computer technology and the phone helped soften the blow. Today, computer technology would be even more involved in a relationship like ours, (and the phone bills would be a lot lower!) Being apart allowed us to really get to know each other. I will say I’m a lot more partial to young love than the club scene where in many instances, it’s just about a sex partner for the night.

On August 17, Phil and I will have been married for 17 years. This doesn’t sound like much and isn’t even close to golden anniversaries of older couples, but when I think about young love, sometimes I feel old. Even without any human children, Phil and I have endured a lot together
–unemployment, countless health crises, and loss of our guides / fur kids. Though I may miss young love, there’s something to be said for enduring love. Many of the hearts, flowers, demonstrative gestures, and glossing over of flaws may not be there anymore, but the steady rock is. The pages of life are certainly tattered and torn both by circumstances and sometimes by each other, but the longer love endures, — in many instances — the harder it is to break.

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My Thoughts on “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.”

To begin, it is worth noting that this oft quoted Christian expression, “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.” is not in the Bible. Phil and I did a Google search and challenged another friend to find it, too. There are verses about loving one another and verses about hating sin, but the two ideas don’t seem to appear in the way commonly expressed.

Obviously loving one another is a challenge on which Christians and nonChristians work every day and often fall short. I think the biggest problem is how hating sin is interpreted. Phil and I read articles on the Net about hatred coming from different Greek and Latin words depending on context. I’m not an academic, who can make those kinds of presentations.

In high school and college, I would have agreed with the phrase without batting an eye. We were taught that if the people we hung around drank and were sexually promiscuous (which back then basically meant sexually active at all), It wouldn’t be long before our association with them would associate us with this behavior. We could pretend not to notice that some engaged in the behavior or try not to put ourselves in close proximity to the behavior. So I basically had to avoid most of my peers after hours. That wasn’t hard in high school, because living in the country, I depended on my parents to drive me places. In college it was trickier. Certainly I understood that if caught at an illegal party, there would be consequences. This scared me away from many. But as I evolved in college, I realized that everyone did bad things sometimes, so why did I need to avoid certain people who engaged in certain behaviors I regarded as sinful? I would have had to reject the whole human race including myself!

A friend and I recently discussed a situation with which neither of us agreed. We were both raised to believe what was occurring was wrong. He assessed the “moral fiber’ of people who were doing this particular thing, and it’s certainly not something I would even be tempted to do. My worry wasn’t about morals but about how ultimately, the involved people were likely to get hurt. Let me make sure I’m clear that I don’t believe my friend is self-righteous, nor am I under the severe delusion that I am always loving. But this is the point in the conversation in which the expression occurred.

If I could get an answer from God, I think I’d like to know if I’m supposed to hate everyone else’s sin along with my own? I reference Jesus’s metaphor about getting the log out of our own eyes before attending the speck in another’s. We should not engage in behavior with which we disagree, and if that’s all the further hating others’ sin goes, I might be OK with that.

Let me also be clear that although this phrase is primarily from the conservative camp, liberals do things which are just as hateful. Anything which disrupts a religious service or sacrament is just as hateful as approaching me and saying that because we choose not to have kids, our purposefully not fruitful marriage is not real/valid. I’ll go out on a limb and say that many times, hatred of the sin crosses the line into hurting and therefore not loving the sinner.

Unfortunately, this “hating the sin” often is said when it appears to others that judgment is occurring, and/or one is hurting the other person. I believe hating others’ sin at times can and does result in not loving the people themselves. Don’t we have enough sin within ourselves to hate without hating others’ sin? Do we really have to trump out a list of what God hates as happens in many protests?

I don’t agree with abortion, but neither will I stand and protest in front of clinics. Some people think it’s OK to do it, because they are hating the sin — not the sinners. I wonder how many women walking into the clinic feel or even are surrounded by love from the protesters? If I felt called to do something about abortion, I’d be volunteering at an adoption agency. In being part of an alternative solution, I have a much less chance of crossing the very fine line between hating sin and hating people who sin.

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