I've got to be honest with you, I'm struggling with all of the words, labels, and slogans that are dividing us in this nation and in our own churches. I wasn't raised with that kind of hate in my heart. I was taught that we are all God's children. He loves everyone, and I am to do the same if I call myself a follower of Christ. There are no dividing lines. Race, age, gender, economic status, or educational level do not define us in His eyes. He does not love us any more or less based on these things. He just loves us and calls us to do the same.
Jesus responded to His disciples this way when He was asked which of the commandments was the greatest commandments in all of scripture.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself."
Do we truly understand how much better life would be and how much better our life would be if we would do these two very simple things? What if we just followed the second commandment? "Love your neighbor as yourself."
I like things simple and spelled out for me. I don't like instruction manuals that contain multiple steps for competing a task. That's why my wife, Karen, usually takes on the responsibility of assembling anything that we purchase that has multiple parts. I just don't have the patience. That's why I like these words of Christ so much. He's given us the solution for getting along with others - Love them and treat them like you would want to be treated.
I want to be heard. I want to be treated with respect. I want to be valued. I don't want to be judged. I don't want to be labeled. I don't want to live in fear. These are just a few things that I want for my own life. Then I must learn to listen if I want to be heard. I must respect others if I want respect. I must show others that they are valuable to me if I want to be valued. I think you get the picture.
Sometimes making peace and showing love requires even more. Look at the life of Jesus. He went to places where He wasn't welcomed and showed love. He went to places where He wasn't invited and showed love. He went into places He was ridiculed for going and showed love, and in some occasions love was not reciprocated. I think he requires the same of us.
Jesus would be standing wherever injustice was found. He would be standing with the people who are peacefully protesting against racial injustice in our world. He would be standing for those who wish to protect the rights of the unborn. He would be standing with those who fight against poverty, and those who wish to rescue men, women, and children who are homeless and on the street. He would be right along side those who are ministering to the imprisoned, those fighting addiction, and their families. That's my Jesus, and he calls me to live in this same way, to stand against all injustice in the world and most of all show love.
Instead on just ignoring the injustice we see every day, the correct response would be to say "I see you. How can I help?" This is how Christ responded everyday. Everywhere He went, He saw the need and responded with love and a helping hand. Shouldn't we do the same?