There’s been a lot of controversy lately about marriage equality. It saddens me to see people spewing hate, especially when they are Christians. God called us not to judge, but to love. When they asked Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40, “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment?” He replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and prophets hang on these two commandments.” So if the second commandment to love your neighbor is like the first, we should love our neighbors with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds.
Recently in Sunday school, we read the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, and I noticed something I hadn’t paid attention to before. In the beginning of the passage, an expert in the law asks Jesus what he needs to do to inherit eternal life. When Jesus asks him what the law says about it, the man replies with the two commandments to love God and love your neighbor. Jesus says that’s a good response, and then this is what stuck out to me. “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'” Jesus, of course, replies with the story of the Good Samaritan, which shows Jews not helping an injured one of their own on the road and then a Samaritan (known for not at all getting along with the Jewish people) comes and helps the injured man. When Jesus asks the man who was a neighbor to the injured man, the man says, “The one who had mercy on him.”
I think this is where we’re getting it wrong. Sometimes, instead of loving someone and having mercy on them, we try to justify ourselves, thinking, “I can’t love him because he’s different than me,” or “I cant love her because she’s doing something against my beliefs,” or “I can’t love them, they are living in sin.”
Since we have Jesus as an example, it’s always best to look to Him for answers. Whom did He love? Did He only love those like Him? Did He only love those who were blameless or who He viewed as pure in His eyes? No, He saw everyone as they were, as we all are, as flawed, imperfect people, and He love them all the same. He spent His time with the “rejects” of society. He ate dinner with sinners, prostitutes, and tax collectors. He touched the leper, He approached the demon-possessed man, and He hugged the children.
I think the question is not “Whom shall I love?” because Jesus shows us we are to love everyone. The question is how should we love. Again I say we can look to Jesus for the answer. He sat and ate with people, spoke with them, listened to their struggles, and made a difference in their lives.
Don’t let your hearts be hardened by hate or judgment. Judgment is for the Lord, not for us. Remember what Jesus says in John 8:7, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” No one did. Jesus also said in Matthew 7:3, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plan in your own eye?” Judging others and hating others and purposefully not loving them is breaking both of the two greatest commandments. By not loving others, you are going against the will of God.
Love a little more. And, remember, no matter what, we are all the same. We are children of God, created for a purpose. And, above all, that purpose is to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds.
Here is how I showed my love for my cousin, JC, last summer by going with him to the Gay Pride Parade in NYC. I love you, JC!