N T Wright on Love

N T Wright in Virtue Reborn (p. 220) on the unique character of Christian love as far more than mere tolerance:

Love affirms the reality of the other person, the other culture, the other way of life; love takes the trouble to get to know the other person of culture, finding out how he, she, or it ticks, what makes it special; and finally, love wants the best of that person or culture. It was love, not just an arrogant imposition of alien standards., that drove much of the world to oppose the apartheid regime in South Africa. It was love, not a dewy-eyed anti-business prejudice (though that’s what they said to him at the time), that drove abolitionist William Wilberforce to protest against the slave trade. It is love, not cultural imperialism, that says it is dehumanizing and society-destroying to burn a surviving widow on her husband’s funeral pyre, or to kill the daughter who has eloped with a man of a different religion or race. Love must confront “tolerance” and insist, as it always has done, on a better way.

It is interesting how all roads lead back to love. Love is often parodied, but its power shines through nonetheless. The greatest of the virtues, the firstfruit of the Spirit – even the pagan moralists note it is the primary thing which sets Christianity apart.

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