Love, love, love
For the past 12 months, we have been going through some major events. We have started with the covid virus; that one event can be a challenge in itself. Add to it the demonstrations that we have had for various civil unrest. Add to that a very interesting and emotional presidential election. Also child, elder, domestic and other abuse has been on the rise, and so has been depression and suicide.
Do you remember the old game with a camel? On a camel there were two bags and the object was to see how many straws that you can put into the bags and then the camel would finally break the back.
Each one of us has our own packs, on our figurative backs. There is only so much that we can take and I have been seeing the kicking the dog scenario. Some people may be getting frustrated from being confined in the house or apartment, people’s employment may be in jeopardy or they may have challenges dealing with the new technology or procedures, each person has some of the common stress and some think that they are the only person going through their challenges. Well, people may be looking for an outlet, no matter what. The person may not know how to constructively release stress, so they may look for the figurative dog to kick. They may know or feel that the dog will not do or say anything back to them.
As you have been seeing, we are going through so much together. People have been lashing out on one another, when they would never have even thought of it before. People are destroying things, when they would never have done anything like that in the times before this pandemic.
I am pretty sure that most religions promote loving one another and helping one another. So how can we reduce a lot of the stuff that’s going on? How about putting yourself in the other people’s shoes? How about talking with the other person and not just shouting offensive things? How about showing concern for those hurting or looking for a voice?
I still believe that people are good and the heart to care for one another is there. Many of us would not do the work that we do or do outreach in the community, if we did not care for people.
During the movie “Independence Day”, Judd Hirsh refers to John Lennon, from the Beatles, where John Lennon wrote the song “all you need is love”, and that John was a very smart man. If we loved one another, would we attack each other? Would we destroy property? Would we deface property? This is not expressions of love. How about coming together with respect and voice your opinions and listen to the other persons opinion? Wow, there is the difference. Many people want to voice their opinion PERIOD. They want to voice their opinion but nobody else in this world matters but them.
I listen to many people who do not believe what I believe. They may not think the way that I do. I may not think the way that they do. We still get along.
In the Bible, Jesus was asked what the greatest law was. Jesus replied: “‘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.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I ask you to please look at those verses. It says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Does anyone see any qualifiers? Does it state that they have to be the same color? Same religion? Same sexual orientation? From the same country? What other qualifiers do you want to put up? It says “Love your neighbor as yourself”, pretty simple to me.
How many of you have spoken to strangers in your life? Everyone has. It is through talking with and getting to know strangers that we develop friendships and may get a spouse out of it or a best friend.
I know that it sounds so simple but let me ask you, how easy is it for you to love your family? You may have that one person that is really difficult or gets on your nerves, but you are still there for them. So, try the same thing for someone who is not your relative.
We can not only show love for someone in word but also as we talk with them. Someone I was speaking to express how they were talking to someone. I heard the words that they were using and I understand that they were frustrated, but I heard words that did not express love.
Many of us will recognize parts of First Corinthians chapter 13, especially during wedding ceremonies:
"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." Let the phrase "if I do not have love, I am nothing" sit with you for a while. How many people actually have love, especially for those who are not within your inner circle? Do you show love to strangers or your enemies? Sure, it is easier to love people that look like us, talk like us, or have some of the same interests but do we love people who are not like us. Are we willing to love people who think differently than we do? Are we willing to love people of different occupations? Other religions?
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." Love is kind. It does not dishonor others. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil. It always protects, always hopes, always perseveres. These phrases give us something to think about and also to measure our love by. How are we and society at loving, according to this teaching? Are you willing to forgive? Do you sit there with a book and keep track of how many times someone has messed up, according to your rules? This action only creates more bitterness. If you need something to keep track of, keep track of the good that people have done, what people do for you without asking, or when people give you a hug. We should not be watching to make sure that the scales are balanced. Do you think this might be where the phrase "I'll get even with you" comes from? Throw away the scales, the records or whatever and just care for people.
I can never get even with all those who have showed me encouragement, kindness, caring, compassion, or brought me joy. I can only try to pay it forward and put all that into people that I experience each day. We never know what kind words or actions will do to a person's day.
Please continue to show that you care for all. Also remember that you can raise someone up or tear them down with your tongue.