When I was in Washington, D.C. the day after the Presidential election last November, there was a group of protesters shouting, “Love Trumps Hate!”
I agree. Love indeed, trumps hate. The only problem was, these protesters were also angry, pushy, rude, and using profanity. Their actions obliterated their message. How were they representing love?
But their actions made me think.
How am I representing love during these tumultuous times?
I asked God how He wants me to represent love. His answer: The way my Son loves is the way you are to love.
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, an expert of the law asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks the man what is written in the law. The man recites this scripture,“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”
He also asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”
This is how Jesus responds, “’A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:25-37 paraphrased)
What if this story took place in the 21st century? It might look a little different. What if the story went something like this…
A group of angry protesters saw a person who had been badly beaten on the side of the road. But he didn’t share their beliefs. Maybe he’s gay. Maybe he’s a Christian. Maybe he’s black. Maybe he was actually born she. Maybe he’s a police officer. Or maybe it’s a woman who is pro-choice. Fill in the blank however you choose. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is this: everyone mentioned are human beings. Everyone mentioned is a neighbor.
What did Jesus say again? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
As human beings, neighbors and countrymen, do we not have more commonality than differences?
Think about that for a minute.
We all need love, acceptance, freedom, understanding, and protection.
Okay, about this time you might be thinking I’m just spouting some 1960’s style rhetoric spawned from lyrics like the popular Beatles song, “Love is All You Need. Love, love, love, love.” (blah, blah, blah!) As if we can take our complex issues and opinions, wrap us all up tight in a love quilt, and then Presto! Problems solved!
Nothing could be farther from the truth. I know it’s not that easy. In fact, it’s pretty darned tough. But that is what love is. Love is tough. Take a look at a portion of this familiar Bible passage known as The Love Chapter.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Let’s just start with the first one: Patient. Having patience is HARD! Ask any parent. What about this one: Love keeps no records of wrongs. Don’t we tend to remember more of how we were mistreated than when someone does or says something kind? It’s our sinful human nature.
My friends, I’m not proposing some warm and fuzzy or mystical ideology, here.
Let’s be practical. Love takes effort and self-discipline. And quite frankly, we are not capable of true love without tapping into the source of love, God Almighty, who IS love. And by the way, God is practical, relevant, and current with the times. He knows all about what we tweet and post.
From the start of the campaigning up to now, we’ve witnessed deplorable, unloving behavior. It didn’t matter which “side” you were on, we were all disgusted.
So, why then, are we continuing the same slanderous, cruel, and divisive behaviors?
Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:11 (The Love Chapter)
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
I ask you, no, I beg you—let’s stop acting like children! Spoiled, rotten children who have not gotten their way. And I’m not just referring to Millennials either.
I mean really, is this how we teach our children to handle conflict? To throw a fit, to throw a fist, to fire a weapon, to take a life, to bully, to use our words as weapons, name calling like crybaby snowflakes?
Our children are watching. The entire world is watching.
And why is the world watching? Because the United States of America is a world superpower. I say that not in pride, but in humility. For as quoted by Benjamin Parker,
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
All Americans have a responsibility to do this thing right. Whether or not your chosen candidate won, this is OUR country. We must come together in unity and love.
“…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” ~Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, The Gettysburg Address.
Perish from the earth? Perish the thought! Could it be possible that division could tear us apart, literally?
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
Frightening! Our “united” states are not united. We are dangerously divided. It is said that all negative emotions are rooted in fear. Negative emotions are on display—broadcasted across media every single day.
Are our individual fears worth the collective loss?
My friends, we can show love and respect to a person without having to agree with them. I’m not in any way saying as Christ followers we should bend, twist or change the Word of God in order to condone sinful behaviors and lifestyles. But isn’t being hateful toward another person sin too? Unloving behavior towards others that don’t agree with us has led our country to division. We are grieved, angry, and vulnerable to failure.
The way forward is for each of us to look inward and then upward.
Look inward and face our anger, biases, assumptions, and prejudices. Look upward to God Almighty for forgiveness, grace, wisdom, unity, peace and LOVE.
Reconciliation is more important than legislation. Americans must learn how to communicate respectfully and nonviolently. We must look to see what we have in common. Every idea from the right is not wrong. Nor is every ideology from the left wrong. We must look for the things each can teach us and find common ground. We must love our neighbors, our countrymen, as ourselves.
Loving our neighbor, despite our differences is the only way to make America great again because…
LOVE TRUMPS EVERYTHING!
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. Please use the comments below to share respectfully what’s on your mind.
Because of the internet, I have many readers in other parts of the world. First of all, I’d like to say thank you for reading. Secondly, I ask if you would please join me in prayer for The United States of America.
This post is linked to#LMMLinkup at, http://maryanderingcreatively.com/lmmlinkup-looking-for-new-hosts/