At a time when our country is divided by protests and chants of “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter”, I propose we turn our attention to the only truth that can bring the change we so desperately need, “Love Matters.” However; I would be remiss if I didn’t provide the origin of that “Love” and the reason for my confidence in its ability to free our hearts and minds from the bondage of hatred and selfishness that threatens to tear us apart.
Pressed by the religious leaders of his day – those who wrote the laws, taught the laws, and enforced the laws – Jesus was asked to cut to the chase and tell them which of the commandments was the most important. His response quieted hearts at that time and would do the same for us today:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The answer is simple – LOVE. But, as they usually are, the simplest answers are the most challenging.
For us to truly, “love” the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we would have to put him first. Above ourselves and our selfish desires. I am challenged here before my feet even hit the floor. My thoughts drift to my first cup of coffee long before they settle on humbling myself before my Lord. I need to trust His purpose and His will for my life. I must accept that my trials and tribulations are happening not to cause me to become angry and frustrated, but to provide me with an opportunity to rely on Him more and to deepen my love for Him. I must, as the writer of James 1:2, says,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
He IS faithful and He IS able. I’m not there, but I can see the beauty of my destination.
The Lord did not stop there. He added, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” While obeying the first commandment will keep us living right with our Savior, this calling will enable us to live at peace with each other. Do you love your neighbor? And before you get excited and think to yourself, “I get along fine with my neighbor”, know that the Lord wasn’t limiting this to those who live where we do, but rather broadly commanding us to love all of those on this journey we call life. Can anyone believe that we are loving one another even as we wait for our legislators, our courts, and our laws to tell us how we should be treating one another? The Lord makes it simple. There should be no difference based on the color of our skin, nor any limitations based on our differences (See Luke 10:25-37 for an example). No, we are called to love one another AS WE LOVE OURSELVES. I don’t know about you, but I treat myself pretty good! In fact, I struggle to find more than but a few people in my life who rival the pampering I’m willing to give the man in the mirror. I also venture that I am not that different from you. Why wait for our society or our culture to define how we should treat one another? The standard is clear for those seeking to follow Christ; treat others as you want to be treated – the “Golden Rule” as we are fond of saying. Again, I’m not there, but I can’t deny the change that this would bring to my perspective.
So, what is the go-forward? I cannot answer for you, but I know the Lord put this on my heart to bring about change in me. Most importantly, I need to put Jesus first in my life. I need to focus less on myself and more on others. That will help me become a better husband, a better father, and a better man. There can be no prejudice when I put Jesus first and follow His command to treat my fellow man (who was also created in His image) like I want to be treated. And that truth really is color blind.
– Lee Reeves