Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Matthew 22:39). This is a very important commandment in the bible and I know of its importance because the very next verse says this: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The first commandment God is speaking of here is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.” So, right after loving God with everything we have within us is the law to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This past week, something has been burning me up inside. Just from simply scrolling through social media, I have witnessed some very harsh, cruel, and most definitely not loving conversations between neighbors (brothers and sisters, friends, mothers against mothers, etc.).
Let’s look at love and respect. You cannot love someone if you do not respect them. Respect and love go hand-in-hand. When you respect someone it means you have a deep feeling of admiration for them. If you take away respect from a relationship, then you are left feeling that the person is unfit for your admiration of them, their actions, their thoughts, words, etc. My question is this: when did we stop respecting others because of their opinions? People have and will always have a difference of opinions, that is what makes us each unique and one of a kind. If we all agreed on every subject there would be no color in conversation, no intelect being passed back and forth between people. We would all be essentially the same. Therefore, in order to be what God intended for us to be, we need to have differences in opinions. But over time, and I have seen this much more lately than I ever have (maybe because everything is broadcast on social media), we have begun to lose respect for one another because of these much needed differences in opinions and thoughts.
We are taught to love one another but that love can’t happen if we argue and fight, and begin to hate because one mother decides to vaccinate her children while another mother doesn’t. Or one family likes president Trump while another family doesn’t. These are topics that should not fill you with hate for someone. They simply have a different opinion than you and that is okay. We need to love and agree to disagree. To be respectful of their ideals and thoughts on certain subjects rather than shame them hatefully and never speak to them again.
Look at the church. The body of Christ is filled with so many beautifully different people with all different opinions on a million different subjects. However, the bottom line is that we all follow the word. The word is our guide and our light. It teaches us things like loving one another without having bitterness in our hearts. Are we perfect, no. However, we are trying to follow the word, respecting one another in our opinions, and loving one another in spite of the differences. The important subject is the word. The word is our rock, our staple in the church and outside of the church (the church is not a building, it is the people). The world will hand us things to disagree or agree on and then we as individuals must take them and choose to respect one another and in turn love one another anyways, or we will choose to hate because someone doesn’t think exactly like we do. We are free to do either. Free to love or hate. But the word of God says to love and if we love, we will respect. This powerful word of God tells us not only to love our neighbors but also to love our enemies. How about that? Now if we can’t love and respect the people we are closest to, how are we ever to love our enemies? God expects us to do it and because of that, He will help us to do it. But we have to begin with our neighbors.
The next time you have a conversation with someone and they don’t agree on something as menial as homeschooling or public schools, office job or farmer, college or no college, electric car or motorcycle, think about how little these things are. Look at the big picture and realize that the most important subjects are found in the word. The rest must be greeted with respect on our lips and love in our hearts.
He gives us roots so we can fly. Roots and Wings.