Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. 1 Jn 4:7-10
There are people in the world that are hard to love. Whether they are culturally different from us, the neighbor that is a little to nosy in lives of others, or even that family member that you know you have to deal with at the holidays, there is always that one person that you find yourself not quite loving fully. We all have this bias against someone, or some group of people. However, in today’s message, we are spoken to, and it is revealed that we need to have love for everyone.
Oh, such a simple message, yet we are all so far from it. Do you have love and compassion in your heart for everyone? When you see someone on the street, even if you think they are not really homeless, do you still have compassion for them? Are you still able to see them as a person, and love them like you are supposed to? Man, that is difficult.
I know I struggle with this, but it wasn’t until I had a conversation with someone that it really clicked. This was not some philosophical conversation on theology or anything, it was just random. The simple statement was… “I can love them, but I don’t have to like what they are doing, or like them.” That little sentence put a lot of different things that I have been contemplating into perspective.
Love them, but I don’t have to like what they do. I can disagree with someone and still show compassion. I think that is what is being lost in the world as a whole, the compassion to disagree with someone, yet still love them and respect them enough as a human. Disputes are going to happen, both publically and privately, but we have lost focus that there should be dignity when dealing with our fellow man. Just because I don’t like what my neighbor is doing, doesn’t mean that I should neglect to pray for them, nor bring them comfort when they need it. That is the key, actually respecting and using compassion to understand each other. We are so lodged into our electronically run social media scramble, that we forget, hey, there is someone with actually feelings and a pulse on the other side of what we type, or photograph, or video. That extra safety net of a screen and an inanimate object keeps us from having to see the actual eyes of someone, and helps to facilitate the culture that we are living in now. Yes, the information age and the technology boom have brought us out of the mindset of having a face to face conversation and bringing our whole selves into matters, and led us to boil down our opinions and words to one hundred and forty characters.
Bottom line, at the end of the day, we need to return to having love, followed by compassion, and top it off with some respect. If we start re-teaching this to our children, maybe we can make a generation that comes behind us a little better to each other than we are now. I pray that we, as a society, can have a change of heart and get back to being civil with each other, loving the individual person, even if we don’t like some of the actions being done.