To my Christian friends, this is for you. (Non religious friends feel free to read too since I talk about your greatness! LOL)
“We are in debt (to Christ) and under obligation to love our neighbors, and if the world had only loved its neighbors, it would not be torn asunder as it is today.” – JFS
I believe this sentence so much. However, in this day and age, I tend to see that many non-religious folks do this better than those who call themselves Christians. How hard is it to simply love your neighbor? So they don’t hold your beliefs, big deal. They look different, so what. They don’t act like you, that’s because they’re not you. We’re all different and that’s a great thing, not a bad thing.
“But what about…” I can hear you saying. No, I’m sorry. Jesus forgave those that nailed him to a cross and hung him out to die. He loved them just the same as everyone else. Therefore, none of your “but what about”s tops that, I’m sorry. Even if he was not the Son of God, even if he was just a cool human being, he still found a way to forgive those other cruel humans that did that horrible act to him.
If there has been anything my life has been focused on, it is loving my neighbors because it’s the only way to unite the world. Have I been perfect? No, of course not. I falter now and then, but I’ve succeeded more than I’ve failed, that I can promise you.
I have great examples to help keep me on course: my parents and my wife. They have been pillars of how to love everyone. My folks never spoke ill of any of my friends despite the fact that some looked pretty freaky and did not in any way shape or form conform to our beliefs. My mom drove across state lines with her sisters to visit her brother who was temporarily out of jail for a week. The crime he was convicted of wasn’t pretty, by my mom and sisters found a way to forgive, just like Jesus, and to love him again. My wife has spent almost 1.5 years trying to love someone in her life that has made it clear on several occasions doesn’t want that love, yet my wife still loves that person. She has proven that you love even when others think you’re not and tell you (falsely) that you’re not. You don’t do it for show. You don’t do grandiose things that show you care to earn “That person is so great”, but you do it in the quiet spots of your heart because it’s the right thing to do.
If we want to make the world a better place, start by loving our neighbors…our literal ones. Then when we’ve got that down, move on to the metaphorical ones until we can love them all. If we did, that would make the world a better place for everyone and solve a lot of our societal problems.