“Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
More and more we are faced with the injustices and pain caused by anger, hate, intolerance, and the senseless acts they foster. Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX are recent reminders. But sadly, these dark elements are not new. In fact, they have been manifesting themselves all throughout human history.
On a visit to a beautiful garden within a historical location, I was given the opportunity to listen to and learn from a group of living history reenactors whose backgrounds are completely different from mine. I felt a deep respect for this group of men as they shared their family’s heritage with profound dignity. One of the primary purposes for why they do what they do, is to inspire conversation. In doing so, maybe we can come together with understanding and mercy.
In light of the pain throughout this world, sometimes we may need to seek to be more educated and learn about the perspectives of others in order to serve them best. When we align our hearts and minds with Christ’s, we become more willing to think outside of ourselves. We can approach the larger world around us with hearts open to listening to the background and experiences of those we encounter. Striving to understand what life is like for them, or what about their reality makes them uniquely who they are. They may look different, believe differently, live different experiences, and have much different histories than ours. But they are made in the “image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26-27). And God loves them – A LOT! “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). In getting to know others’ stories or perspectives, we might just be serving them in our common humanity. Thus fulfilling Jesus’ command to love by truly recognizing them as our neighbors. What could be wrong with that?