One of my favourite people in the world is a vegetarian. He has been a vegetarian for over four years and at no stage have I felt awful for eating meat. At no point have I felt judged or ‘the worst’. Throughout our friendship we have both deferred to the others preference, I even went through seasons of being almost vegetarian as it was easier. And he has cooked meat for up to 70 people at a time without complaining or guilting others into the irony of a vegetarian doing so.
These thoughts came to me a few days ago when we were having a BBQ. And my friend, without making a fuss, turned on the BBQ and prepared the meat. Even when I offered to help he felt quite comfortable just cooking it all himself. He was sacrificing his own conclusions for the blessing of others. He was serving those he ideologically had different opinions to.
Like Jesus. Jesus died on a cross for those who hated him, hadn’t heard of him, refused to believe him and even those who set up his execution. My vegetarian friend served meat eaters. I knew a guy who used to carry around cigarettes so that when people asked if he smoked he could give them a smoke whilst being quite anti smoking because a relative had died of cancer. And I think many of us would have stories like these of people that love others to the extent that they champion another’s favourite when it goes against their own.
I am loved and have been loved for my entire life by people who disagree with me. But they still love me.
Why do we think love mostly means “agreement with me” or “tolerate until they agree with me”?