Alan Keyes
April 25, 2016
If we encourage abandonment of truth, can it be love?
Alan Keyes responds to pope's exhortation about those who are 'different'
By Alan Keyes

"We encounter problems whenever we think that relationships or people ought to be perfect, or when we put ourselves at the center and expect things to turn out our way. Then everything makes us impatient, everything makes us react aggressively. Unless we cultivate patience, we will always find excuses for responding angrily. We will end up incapable of living together, antisocial, unable to control our impulses, and our families will become battlegrounds. That is why the word of God tells us: 'Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice' (Ephesians 4:31). Patience takes root when I recognize that other people also have a right to live in this world, just as they are. It does not matter if they hold me back, if they unsettle my plans, or annoy me by the way they act or think, or if they are not everything I want them to be. Love always has an aspect of deep compassion that leads to accepting the other person as part of this world, even when he or she acts differently than I would like." (#92 Amoris Laetitia {Pope Francis})

As I read this passage from Pope Francis' recently released Post Synodic Apostolic Exhortation, I immediately thought "What about when they act differently than God requires? What about when we are striving to keep God at the center?" These questions gave rise to the following train of thought:

Was Christ unloving, and worthy of blame for angering some people, because he said "Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect...."? Today, people who reject God's provisions for human nature may react aggressively to those who witness truthfully for God's will in defense of nascent human life, or His provision for procreation by means that respect the prerequisites of human consciousness and individuality. This assault on God's truth has turned some families into battlegrounds. Are we then called to retreat from truthful witness, even though, by doing so, we would lend credence to the scandal that is presently betraying our children to perdition?

What of Christ – who said:

Do not think I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 34-37)

Which words are true – those of Christ, or those of persons who appear to contradict Him? Apparently, Christ did not think it compassionate, toward ourselves or others, to surrender our relationship with Him in truth, in order to maintain our worldly relationships with lies.

In 2004, when I was running against Barack Obama for the open U.S. Senate seat in Illinois, I had a meeting with two pastors who reproached me because I would not back away from my defense of innocent life in order to win the support of pro-abortion Republicans, such as then-Illinois GOP Chairwoman Judy Topinka. I patiently explained that doing so would betray God and the meaning of justice the United States is founded upon. Throughout the meeting, I defended that stand. They waxed angry and impatient because I would not relent.

I have no doubt that many who look to Christ have had similar conversations, even with people in their own families. Simply because we will not pretend to love them more than we love Christ's presence within us, these others often harbor bitter feelings against us, feelings we in no way reciprocate. But doesn't respect for Christ's presence oblige us to say to God, with Christ, "Not my will but thine be done"? Shouldn't that obligation hold, even if it means that our own hearts break upon the hardened hearts of others; even if it leads others to demand that we be crucified upon a cross of God-defying lies about the "right" to follow ways of living (lifestyles) that abandon God's standard for what is right?

Is this not our cross, which we must bear for the sake of Christ, who said "he that does not take up his cross, and follow me, is not worthy of me"? If, for the sake of worldly relationships, we abandon the perfect standard of God's love; if for the sake of peace in the home or in the world, we abandon the standard of God's truth; if we look away from the standard of Christ's way, to accept that it is right to live according to a way that rejects the Word and will of our Father in heaven, are we truly acting with love and charity?

Is it love for others when we encourage them, by our acceptance, to follow ways of life that God sees as ways of death and dying? (Proverbs 14:12: "There is a way which seems right to a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death.") Is it love to smile and applaud as our loved ones follow those ways of death; or as they join themselves with the workers of iniquity who encourage others to follow those ways? Is it love, or is it a path that makes us workers of iniquity, of whom the Psalmist says to the Lord, "You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You.... You hate all workers of iniquity...." (Psalms 5:5)?

For is it not iniquity when we knowingly encourage people who are following the ways of death to believe that they "have the right" to live according to those ways? Surely, they may freely choose to do so, for that freedom is the root of moral responsibility. But to say that it is right is a soul-destroying lie. It turns away from Christ, whose way is truth and life. But if we, who are supposed to represent Christ, speak and act in ways that encourage others as they walk away from God, do we not take His name in vain?

Christ suffered crucifixion rather than exchange God's truth for a lie. For God's sake, aren't we called, as members of Christ's body, to do the same? The words of "Amoris Laetitia" may not be intended to mislead and misdirect us toward a false understanding of right, sociability, and compassion. But in times of deep and dark confusion such as ours, I cannot help but think they will be misconstrued by the workers of iniquity who are seeking to do so. Is this way of speaking – so vulnerable to corrupting confusion – consistent with assiduous pastoral caring?

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at LoyalToLiberty.com and his commentary at WND.com and BarbWire.com.

© Alan Keyes

 

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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election — one featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism — when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)

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