Persons matter more than principles. Principles are important, of course, and persons cannot long violate your principles and remain in relationship with you. But if you have to choose between persons or principles, listen to your heart as well as your head. Don’t sacrifice a greater value for a lesser one.
Nothing has a greater value than love, and keeping love alive between persons. I have seen divergent values lead to heart-wrenching results. If we could only agree to disagree, only keep our conversations going, our relationships alive. While there’s life, there’s hope. People do change; people do grow up. But if you are no longer talking, no longer in connection, you will neither know nor benefit from another’s maturing.
Too many of us lose touch with too many former loved ones, and for reasons having to do with differences that we could live with, if we only stopped judging and started loving unconditionally. As is said, though you may hate the sin, you must continue loving the sinner.
That being said, never enter into a committed relationship with someone who doesn’t share your core values. You will only drift apart.
I recently had a conversation with a woman whose husband chose his religious principles over his son’s socially acceptable lifestyle. He was doing so in a judgmental manner that alienated his wife as well as his son.
As a parent, I have my values, and I have no intention of violating them. Yet I cannot ask or expect others to value what I value, nor to the extent that I value what I value. At the same time, I can ask and expect that others, including my children, respect my values. To respect does not mean to agree with.
The situation had to do with unmarried persons sleeping in the same bed, in the parent’s home. Since there was only one extra bedroom available in their home, I suggested that the son and his girlfriend go to a motel, and that the parents adopt the “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy. Whether they end up renting one or two rooms is not the parent’s business.
The woman strongly agreed. I told her to tell her husband, a sincere and in his way righteous man, that if God valued principles above persons, Jesus would never had died for us. Jesus said that we were not made for the law, but the law was made for us. That is most significant: persons are cherished above principles. Just so, relationships, love, matter more than whether a loved one happens to concur completely with your value system.
Your task, without giving up or sacrificing your own values, is honor your love for the other above even your values. You can hope that someday, loved ones will come not only to respect, but actually to agree with, that which you value.
Put differently, the best way to represent your values is by living them, showing them to the significant others in your life. As they say about writing: show, but don’t tell. Preaching what you believe may make you feel better, but it’s not likely to promote what you value.