The most important command in the Bible is clear; and it’s serious. The command to love they neighbor it is written in Mark 12:31 ‘The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Interesting isn’t it? You may have grown up hearing it but not now where it comes from. I ask again- do you really love your neighbor? It seems in our society that we love twitter, we love a great shoe sale or Duke basketball; even when they miss a championship here or there. But do we love the obese man next door? Do we love the African American across the? Do we love the homosexual couple? Or do we just think we are speaking a good idea in theory?
See; all too often we interact with people and base whether we like them on political stances instead of the people themselves. You like more Democrats if you are one and well; Republicans too like their kind. The Bible is clear to love and missing that means we miss the entire point. Remember it was Jesus at the well speaking to the woman out of love. It was Jesus that died for your sins and for mine; and if you ever claim to be a follower of Christ but have no love then are you truly His follower? Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are and right where they are. Don’t you? The good news is that you are if you merely look to Jesus.
Today I ask you: “Are you loving your neighbor?” Are you living in the land of love or are you too busy judging others because they are not the size 2, driving the vehicle that you think is cool, or drinking your favorite beer? They don’t agree with your stance on refugees or Donald Trump and therefore you are just not ok with them. Are you forcing tolerance in the name of tolerance while being intolerant yourself? Are you looking down on someone because they don’t attend your 40k member mega-church? Or better yet; judging those ministers publicly because of something you think they stand for instead of realizing that in love you cover a multitude of sins? It is simply not the place of any of us to judge anyone as that in and of itself is sin. Who is anyone to look at the life and path of another and condemn them? Am I not just as guilty for the sins I have committed? Sin is sin and we have to remember that. Sure the outcome may be different but that simply is not the point for this moment.
It’s amazing how many don’t realize the magnificent and the magnitude of the words Jesus spoke before His death: ‘Forgive them Father for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34) and how true it is! People are hurting by their sins so why judge them even more?
I remember a few years ago I was walking out of a store and a strange gentleman asked me my plans for the evening. I replied ‘none’ and his reply was ‘oh another beautiful lady home on a Friday night.’ Ouch! What I saw though was that the pretty ladies are judged for their looks just as much as the not so pretty ladies; whatever they even look like. In the end- all are home alone on a Friday night and still be judged. And that’s not cool!
We are only called to love our neighbors. It’s that simple. None of us know the specific path that someone has been through. We just don’t. Know one has walked my journey with me except for Jesus and the same is for you. I will be dealt with on Judgment Day as will all of us whether we believe it or; like it or not or want it or not. Through all of this so long as we hold over those who we believe are more sinful than ourselves we are simply playing God. It is not up to any of us to place ourselves in that position as what we think today may be different tomorrow. It is only our responsibility and duty to reach out and love our neighbors and demonstrate that love so that others can see the light and forever be changed. It is our duty to love. And through forgiveness more love will come.