I drove past a house with a lawn sign that read, “No room for hate here.” To be honest I could not understand its purpose. Did they mean if you did not agree with their politics you were a hater? Or for that matter, to just plain disagree with them on anything makes you a hater?

Every day at the Mission someone inevitably disagrees. There is a vast range of topics open for disagreement. I have sat with residents and heard them state, “And you call yourself a Christian!” This has trouble written all over it. First, it presumes that love is permissive. Second, it presumes that their definition of Christianity is the one we are going to adopt. Third, I think this is a feeble attempt at manipulation.

Love is accepting but it is not permissive. I have heard the term self-determination thrown around, as if to imply that self-determination is the ultimate experience and cure all. However, our nation is a nation of laws and those laws infringe on self-determination. Our laws are very strict and even regulate the speed you drive your car. We know that a person who has addicted themselves to drugs or alcohol has gone too far. There is a right or wrong factor. Even if you legalize all substance abuse you have not made it right.

I agree, I grew up in an era where right and wrong were clearly defined. I also admit that some will see me as a throwback. But to be honest, I like the security of a clear definition of right and wrong and I do not feel I have missed out on anything because some consider my beliefs to be archaic. If self-determination has brought you to a state of homelessness, better choices must be made. I just point to the government’s Housing First Initiative as proof of my point that homelessness is unacceptable.

Love does not allow for you to destroy your life and someone else’s at the same time. In this recovery program, our love for a resident cannot allow the same resident’s relapse to destroy another’s recovery. Why should we love one resident above the other? Why should someone’s choice to relapse be allowed to destroy another’s recovery?

Defining Christianity is somewhat more difficult. There are many Christian denominations. Christ is at the center of all Christian religions. You cannot have Christianity without Christ. I know – more archaic beliefs. I rather enjoy having this clarity of thought though. Christianity is built on Christ’s teaching, that is why we hear the “I thought you were a Christian,” comment. But often it is a misunderstanding of Christ’s teaching that leads to this thought. Many will state “God is Love.” Does your love for your spouse accept infidelity? Do you always say “yes” to your child and never say “no” because of love?  Why does God’s love have to accept every form of disobedience to His commands and teachings? Why should we continue in sin? No, not every Christian belief system emphasizes the same teachings of Christ but that does not negate the teachings of faith, obedience, and transformation.

Attacking another’s opposing beliefs because it doesn’t agree with our beliefs is manipulative; it is offered to persuade the response. It is meant to be a superior idea.

Union Mission has a clear definition of Christianity. We offer a life in Christ as the best option to the place where self-determination has led. That right and wrong is determined through the scripture is the basis of our thought. And yes, in spite of all our flaws, we hold firmly to faith in Jesus Christ. As long as I have breath and sit as part of Union Mission you can rest assured that Christ is our creed. He is the basis of homeless recovery. We are not full of hate just the opposite …. we love.