By Michele Edgel
The New Year has come and people make all kinds of resolutions, most of which will be forgotten by March. My thought has always been that making these resolutions was silly and impractical. When this New Year rolled around I spent some time actually thinking about what needed to happen in the New Year. Not necessarily making a resolution but being honest with myself and the things that could be done better (There were a lot I assure you). After careful consideration, the realization came that I needed to do a better job of following these two commandments given by Jesus:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 ESV.
This seems like a pretty easy thing to do right? Love your Lord God above all things – I do that already, or do I? I thought, I got the first one not a problem, wrong – I realized that I do put other things before God. Not always taking the time to honor him by reading his word, thank him for all he does or just sit and listen for him to speak to me. When this realization came to me, I thought I can do better, and have been but there is always room for improvement.
The second one – “Love thy neighbor” this one is a little bit trickier. Most people define a neighbor as one who lives close to you, but Jesus meant everyone. This is getting a little harder. Love everyone, surely he didn’t mean a terrorist, rapist, etc. Well he didn’t say “Love your neighbor as yourself, unless” so I guess he did mean everyone. It is easy to love our family (sometimes) whether it is our blood or church family but it gets a little harder when we go outside the comfort zone.
So here we go starting the New Year out trying to follow this and the first stumbling block is hit. I told someone that I loved everyone and they said “Well, yeah but not people like pedophiles and terrorists” and I said yeah them to. They were dumbfounded. I then proceeded to explain that those are the people in most need of love. The terrorist that has only grown up knowing hate and revulsion, the pedophile that was taught that love is shown in perverse ways. I am not sure if they understood but I actually feel better about myself knowing that Jesus is guiding me in this. What I thought was going to be hard has turned out to be pretty easy, but the year has just started so I may change my mind at a later date, I will keep you informed. I want to end this by clarifying a point or two. Just because I state that I love someone does not mean that I share their political, religious or moral views or even like their views. I am just trying to be a better person by being a better Christian. As Jesus told us:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 ESV.
Go forth and Love Thy Neighbor. God Loves You And So Do I.