“Love thy neighbor” is a simplistic idea. It’s outdated. It’s trite.
What do we do when our country seems more fractured than ever before? Racial strife is at an all-time high. Our political leanings are our tribal standards, and fighting seems to be the only way to relate to others.
What do we do when we begin to believe that our political system is irreparably broken, and is only a way to enrich the powerful and enslave the powerless?
What do we do when we see a dictatorship rising in the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the destruction of ancient churches and the execution of Christians on a scale unseen in generations?
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. – John 13:34
Isn’t it silly in this day and age to offer a solution like “love thy neighbor?” Shouldn’t we instead be calling for a revolution in the streets? Trading an eye for an eye? Taking matters into our own hands?
Try loving your neighbor today.
Love the person ahead of you in line at Starbucks. The one with the complicated order and the disorganized wallet.
Love the other drivers on the freeway, who seem to be conspiring to make your commute as difficult as possible.
Love the people that call you names. Love those that laugh at your hair and clothes and the fact that you believe in a God and in Christ and that your actions will echo throughout eternity.
Love your family. Love the helpless. Love your enemy. Care for them. Help them. Be charitable and kind and gracious.
Do not resist hatred by hating. That is the easy thing to do. Resist hatred with love.
Love is a word that has been stretched beyond all meaning. It isn’t affection or tolerance or some vague notion of approval. Love is to put someone else above ourself. It is to see others as worthy of love. It is to understand that God calls on our enemy to repent and be joined to Him, just as He calls us.
Love is not compelling someone to believe as you do. But it is not giving up your own beliefs in the name of peace. Love is bearing another’s burdens, but it does not call a thorn a rose.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
This isn’t a call to overthrow the established order by force. It’s not an action plan for political or social justice. And it certainly isn’t something to tack onto your Facebook timeline and call it a day.
“Love thy neighbor” is the most revolutionary idea in history. It changed the course of humanity.
Surely it can change our country.
See if it changes you.
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