social faith

Love your neighbor

(A Lenten contemplation)

The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: 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’. (Matthew 12:30-31)

I recently saw a post on FB about a group of white supremacists  who were convicted for terrorizing a children’s birthday party.  I raised these questions in commenting on this post, Where does this racial hatred come from that is embedded in our culture? How can one feel superior just by being born a particular color or vice versa? Schools cannot undo it. Churches cannot heal it. Is racial hatred the most powerful energy in the world?  My questions were not meant to be cynical.  But hatred seems so illogical. Love is so much more understandable.   I believe that love is so powerful that people who give it and share it with others can change this world.  Those of us who chose to live this way are being compelled to speak out and encourage everyone to please love one another.

We are in this world together.  If we see ourselves as disconnected from our neighbor, then we will misjudge them.  When we see our neighbor as ourselves, then we judge correctly.  We are on this journey together.  We have no alternative in my way of thinking than to strive for the perfect solution; love.  To meet hatred with hatred will surely guarantee our destruction.   Darkness and hate seek to destroy but love and light will bring us together.

Jesus showed us the power of love when he died on the cross.  This love affirms that we are all valuable and the Father loves us.   With God’s love to empower and fill us, we can love our neighbor as ourselves.

social faith

Let’s shine

It is important for the creature to acknowledge the existence of the creator.  It reflects a powerful revelation has occurred in the heart and mind.  Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real … (Hebrews 11:6). True believers manifest the characteristics and qualities of the creator; God is love. They have love for their neighbor.  They lift their voices against injustice.  They show mercy and pray for those in need of forgiveness.  In a world where partisanship has escalated within the Christian community, we must remember that Christ needs us to not only believe in him but more importantly to live as him.

My mind goes to the Mother Emanuel Baptist Church members who shared the gospel with an individual who would become an active shooter; The 21 Coptic Christian migrant workers who were kidnapped and then beheaded by individuals who desired to allegedly recompense hate with hate.  And to Saint Theresa of Calcutta who started the Missionaries of Charity to help the homeless children, poor, and sick in India.  These ordinary people became extraordinary witnesses reflecting the light of Christ in this world.  We may think that we could never rise to their level of commitment but each of us can impact this world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

We can offer a kind word, a smile, give a hungry person a meal or a person in need a coat.  We can shine as light in a dark world.  In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).  Let’s shine!