John taught, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6). We are to “be imitators of God, understanding we are all God’s beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:1–2).
I am saddened to see so many these days choosing to not walk in love. This past week I have heard friends calling others human scum and willfully ignorant. I have also spoken to people who say they will no longer be friends with people that believe or support a certain individual or cause. I am guessing these last two sentences have brought a certain person or belief to your mind. That is why I want to encourage all of us to step back and remind ourselves we are called to Love our neighbor. That does not mean we have to agree with them or condone certain actions. It does take a willingness to treat others respectfully so that we can be willing to understand different points of view. Miles McPherson, in his book The Third Option https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Third-Option/Miles-McPherson/9781501172205, writes that we all have blind spots. His premise is you will only see people a certain way if you just engage with others who are like minded. He challenges his readers to get out of their comfort zone and spend time in places where they have never been and with people that think differently than them. How can that happen if our mindset is “ I won’t have anything to do with those kind of people”?
I know reaching out to people you don’t like will not be easy but if each of us won’t do it, who will? I believe we are to be men and women who are willing to give up our will to be used by God in extending and advancing His love and care here on earth. We need to become servant hearted so we can lift up others’ needs above our own interests. It can start with doing a random act of kindness to a neighbor across the street or a colleague at work who may not look like you or had the wrong election sign in their yard. Let me be the first to say it is hard to make it my first instinct and doing it can be challenging. It becomes even more powerful when you do it for no other reason than you want them to know someone cares and knows they live there. As a friend says, “doing awesome things for others, quietly”
Romans 12:15 says, “we are to rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” Paul writes later in Ephesians 4:32 “Whatever wrong someone does to us, we are to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” Hebrews 10:23-25 encourages us toward this honorable endeavor. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Yes, even Inauguration Day.
How awesome would it be if we all made a New Year resolution to “Love our neighbor”? What does it look like for you? St Francis of Assisi in his prayer below, answers the question much better than I ever could. First, pray that God would give empower you take this on in your own life. After that, change the pronoun to plural and pray it for the community and the country in which we live. From our lips to God’s ears, please Lord, hear our prayer. Lord, Teach us your ways. https://youtu.be/_NRzrRok7Ds Let us love each other as God sees us. We are His Beloved.
Contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also subscribe to this blog so you can receive email notifications when new content is posted.