We live in very unusual times with the convergence of difficult matters. COVID, social and racial injustice, climate imbalance, and the polarization of people’s political views are just a few major problems that make it challenging to love one another. Many people are experiencing fatigue and frayed emotions with the weightedness of concerns that affect loving others, even with those they count as their closest friends and family members. And so, it is not surprising that people also find it difficult to love the stranger, acquaintance, or neighbor who makes one’s life difficult. I am often alarmed at how people behave in ways that are the opposite of trying to love others.
Terri and I are fortunate to have been very warmly received and welcomed in our new neighborhood in Huron. While we are still getting to know one another, people seem to have quietly laid aside political differences while respecting the diverse display of signage on people’s lawns advocating for one or the other Presidential candidate.
We entertained one of our neighbors for dinner a few days ago who had kindly included us at his outdoor table on Labor Day with members of his family. While we engaged in conversation, we unintentionally discovered that we differed greatly in our political views and filters of life experience with our country and world. However, the good news is that we were able to have a free-flowing and respectful discourse that was civil and loving with each other. We learned from one another and found common ground with what is most lasting in life: working to love and care for family, friends, neighbors, and people with whom we may agree or disagree.
Near the end of Jesus’ mortal life, he shared with his disciples: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Jesus did not say: “This is an option for you to consider: if it is convenient for you and it works, particularly with people who agree with you and make your life easy, love them, otherwise, it’s OK not to do so.” Loving others can be very challenging and difficult, but through God and Jesus’ unwavering love for us—“warts and all”—we are called, yes, we are commanded, to love others. It’s amazing what can happen when we persevere in grace and faith to love others, even with those that may differ so strongly with us!
In a time in which people can get caught up in mud-slinging and hateful rhetoric, let each one of us be a model of loving one another, taking the high road and not succumbing to harmful words and actions. Love one person at a time and see how God works wonders and miracles beyond imagination!
Through the love of Christ,