The Common Good

When Grace Backfires

In 1958 the Teddy Bears released the song "To know him is to love him," which might as well have been called "To know, know, know, him is to love, love, love, him," since that's the way everybody remembers it. Either way, you get the idea: There's this great guy out there, and the closer you get to him, the better you're going to feel about him and, in all likelihood, the better he's going to feel about spending time with you. After all, who doesn't like being loved for who they really are?

Of course, there is no rule that says you can't choose instead to get close to a lousy person, no matter how mean, lazy, stupid, violent, or unbelievably selfish he or she might be. On the contrary, there are plenty of rules saying we should do just that, in the name of Jesus. And there are plenty of stories and proverbs suggesting that when we do, wonderful things can happen. And so they do, especially early on in the relationship.

The problem is that to love, love, love a lousy person over a long period of time is

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)