Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

I love you, but…

“I love you, but it’s such a shame you failed at your marriage.”

“I love you, and of course it’s not the baby’s fault that you got pregnant outside of marriage.”

“I love you, but it would be easier if you celebrated the same holidays as the rest of us and didn’t pray in that weird way.”

“I love you, but I’m not sure how to approach you since your mental illness makes you kind of erratic.”

“I love you, but I wish you wouldn’t talk so openly about your rape because it makes people uncomfortable.”

“I love you, but your weight is a real problem and shows that you don’t have any self-control. I don’t want anyone to think I condone how you look.”

“I love you, but until you stop dressing like that you can’t come in here.”

“I love you, but since I don’t believe addiction is a disease I don’t think I can hang out with you.”

“I love you, but it would be great if you could find somewhere to take a bath and get your clothes washed before church services on Sunday.”

love-winsI love you, but I don’t want my daughters around you while you talk about how God has gifted women to preach and lead. I just can’t agree with that.”

“I love you, but you need to change.”

We love homosexuals. You read it correctly. The church of Christ in downtown Branson loves not only homosexuals, but also fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, sodomites, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners. We love all unrighteous people. Why? Because we have also been guilty of unrighteousness (Rom. 3:23). But because God first loved the world (Jo. 3:16; 1 Jo. 4:19), He, by His grace, has taught us how to become righteous (Ti. 2:11-14). –Open letter from the Branson Church of Christ

“I love you, but I love you like I love drunks, adulterers, liars, thieves, and murderers. You know…because I’m told I have to by my holy book.”

“I love you, but”…is not I love you at all. At least it doesn’t feel like it to the person we are claiming to love. It doesn’t feel like love when something that is a part of your biology, a part of your history, or a part of a past decision is the end of the sentence about love. The love part doesn’t ring true if there is very little I can do about the thing you disapprove of…the thing that makes your love conditional.

“I love you, but” puts the other person on the outside. Makes them different from you. Says their humanity is up for debate, discussion, and decision.

“I love you, but” says your value is in question. It says I’ll need to talk to God before I offer you love, acceptance, a place at the table. It says “change” and then we’ll talk about how to fit you into the family.

If we are really honest we have all been on the receiving end of “I love you, but” and quite frankly it is shitty. Really really shitty.

When I’m really honest I’ve been on the giving end of “I love you, but” and that does not make it even a little bit okay. Not a teeny tiny damn bit.

I love you.

Come on in. Come on over. Let’s have coffee. Want to come along?

I didn’t say it was easy. I didn’t say I’m a pro. But that’s where real relationships based on love start.

I love you.

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