Intolerance or Love?

From samantha.levang’s photostream

Four friends got together each week to have a beer and play poker.  One of them found a cool beer stein in an antique store and started using it to drink his beer each week.  One night, the second of the four friends commented to the first that he saw a stein just like that on the Antique Roadshow and that it’s not worth much but it’s full of lead.  This friend said to the first, “It might kill you to drink from it, but I guess that’s your business.”   But the third friend said to the first, I’m really concerned about the risk of lead poisoning if you keep drinking from that stein.  I’ve got another really cool mug just like the one I’m using that I’d like to give to you.  I really hope you’ll use it instead.  The first friend hesitated and wasn’t sure that he wanted to give up his special new stein.  At that point the fourth friend lost it.  He jumped up and grabbed the stein from his first friend, wrenching his arm in the process.  After yelling at his friend and calling him stupid, he smashed the stein on the floor.
Which of the three friends showed true love to the first?  Jesus would certainly commend the friend who took the middle road … neither apathetic nor aggressive, but appropriately concerned.
Now, in place of the tainted stein, substitute anything you truly believe would be destructive to a friend.  This could be abusing alcohol or drugs.  It could be eating sugar when struggling with diabetes.  It could be living a homosexual lifestyle.  It could be smoking.  It could be harboring deep anger.  It doesn’t really matter what it is.  What matters is if you truly believe it will be destructive to your friend.   If you believe it will be harmful to your friend, you should do what you can to keep her or him from it.  That’s what true love does.  What some people may label as “being judgmental” or “showing intolerance,” may actually be true love in action.

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