Rick Warren wrote, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” I cannot agree with all of Rick Warren’s religious beliefs, but I can agree with that statement! It seems that we are living in a world of extremes…some would have us believe that we either intensely hate people or intensely love them, but that there is no middle ground.

I happen to believe that we can both love people and disagree with them on important issues, especially in the area of religion. (We can disagree without being disagreeable)  Paul reminded the Galatian brethren how much loving labor he bestowed upon them in order to teach them about Jesus. (Gal. 4:1-15) Still, when false teaching arose among them, he rebuked them for following “another gospel.” (Gal. 1:6-9) Anticipating that some would say he was too harsh, Paul asked the question, “Am I your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16) It was the truth that led to their conversion and set them free from the Old Law and it was the truth that would keep them faithful to God.

We have allowed the “politically correct” crowd to influence our beliefs and compromise our convictions. The lie has been spread that Christians are judgmental bigots who prefer conviction over compassion. Why? Because we dare to “speak as the oracles of God.” (1 Pet. 4:11) The attitude of the world is that religious beliefs should change to accommodate us rather than asking us to change and conform to God’s word.

I believe in compassion. I also believe in conviction. Jesus refused to deny himself even though it would have prolonged his ministry on earth. (1 Tim. 6:13; 2 Tim. 2:13) Was it conviction or compassion? I believe it was both! Jesus did not deny the truth that he is the Son of God, he taught against sin and called for repentance, and he died to save a lost and dying world from the prospect of eternal loss!

We must remember to be compassionate toward all men. But, we must maintain our convictions because they are rooted in God’s truth! Do not be afraid to stand up for your faith!

Gary Knuckles lives in Benton, KY and preaches for the Briensburg Church of Christ.