Updated: May 15, 2020
"... Noticing how well Jesus had answered them, he asked Him, 'Which commandment is the most important of all?' Jesus replied, 'This is the most important: Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. No commandment is greater than these.'" ~ Mark 12:28-31
In my head, I’m hearing The Beatles sing, All You Need Is Love.
Yesterday was a day of change in the life of the United States of America and its place in the global community. Perhaps it's strange to think of the country itself as having a lifecycle or identity of its own, but I do.
I suppose I anthropomorphize a lot, but I also imagine you'll get used to it and learn to love me anyway, or maybe even because of it. :)
The vast majority of this commentary will be sourced from those with far greater wisdom than I... but, here we go.
It was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
And, it was in the thirteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians that Paul wrote, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, is it 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.”
More than once in the New Testament, it is recorded that Jesus commanded us “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
However, the general premise was not new then. Long before our Rabbi uttered those words, it was recorded in Leviticus, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
Several Eastern religions, in texts as old as the 3rd-5th century A.D., demand that their followers not harm anyone in any manner that they themselves would not wish to be harmed. Though they are sage words of wisdom, I personally prefer the Judeo-Christian tenant of active love, as opposed to the passive concept of “do no harm.”
I honestly don’t know the source, nor who may have originally uttered the words, but I recently saw it written, “We don’t have to agree on anything to be kind to one another.” And that, my friends, is absolutely so.
When I look around at people and the way in which they comport themselves these days, it breaks my heart how cruel we are to each other.
In the same breath people preach tolerance and skewer anyone whose opinion differs from their own.
I think, in all honesty, it is our differences which would allow us to make the greatest progress if we would in truth hear each other, respect each other, have faith that another opinion is worthy to be voiced, and above all, as we were commanded love [our] neighbor as [ourself.]
If we could in some way impart all of the above to the people of this world, and we could live it in word, in deed, and in truth, there is no doubt it would grant immeasurable peace.
When I think on these things, I sometimes think; I was born far too late for my own good. But then, I remember the words spoken to Esther; that she was born “for such a time as this.” I think of them and it smarts a bit. I take a deep breath, have faith, and make whatever difference I can right where I am.
Won’t you join me?
Can’t we each make a difference for the clerk at the grocery store? For our mail delivery person? For the person on the other end of a frustrating customer service call? For that person who just gets under our skin?
Isn’t it within our reach to make that difference in our own little corner of the world?
I pray we would each have the grace and space to exhibit mercy and kindness, that we would all be the Light in the world we are meant to be. I pray we would each know and feel the presence of the Father in ways that allow us to be kindness and love beyond anything even we can imagine.
"Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (TPT)
"Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind..'" ~ Matthew 26:36-45 (NASB - excerpts)
"...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?'" ~ Esther 4:14 (NKJV)
"And walk in love, as Christ loved us..." ~ Ephesians 5:2a (ESV)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise. ♥