So often it’s difficult to love what you don’t understand. Lack of understanding frustrates us, and our frustration is usually placed on that person or thing, rather than realizing that it is not the fault of either party involved. In a new country, there are so many ‘new’ things here. It’s simple to be bothered by these differences, viewing it as weird and foreign (when, actually, it is not the thing that is foreign, but you).
When I first arrived, I found it difficult to love on the Catholic Church. There were so many aspects of it that felt wrong and bothered me greatly. I didn’t like the history of killings and persecution. I hated the extravagance of the church, feeling as if it was a cop-out on feeling the extravagance of God’s presence alone.
However, during a Skype call with a friend back home, I was reminded of how narrow-minded I had become. She reminded me that there were many things wrong with the Protestant Church too. There are equally good and bad to both denominations, and we are not to judge or love less those who worship God in a different manner. After that call, I was extremely humbled and realized that the first step to loving is to gain understanding.
In understanding aspects of the Catholic Church that I had not known, I gained more respect for its particular practice of faith. While there are still many things I do not agree with, I can now practice love and understanding as I dialogue about Catholicism.
Love takes humbling. If I continued to think that my way was the only right way, I could not love. I needed, and still need, to recognize that faith is deeply personal, and for God alone to judge. In removing the speck out of my own eye, I was able to find more love for a people group I had previously not understood … and praise be to God for that.