The Wisdom of Love

Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. ~ Lev. 19:18- Love your neighbor as yourself. ~ the Lord, Matt. 22:39

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. ~ Paul, Rom. 13:10

Indeed, if you fulfill the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. ~ James, James 2:8

The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. ~ John, 1 Jn. 4:8

If Jesus is your Lord then this applies to you like it does me. Now we must ask ourselves some questions.

If I would not want it said or done to me, why would I want it said or done to my neighbor? Is that love?

If I would want it said or done for me, why would I not say it or do it for my neighbor? Is that not love?

We can baptize our ideologies in Christian rhetoric and dress it in Church clothes, but if it does not result in love our ideology is empty and naked. Choose the issue, cause, or categorical description applied to our neighbors. Don’t let “neighbor” be an abstract description. Let it be specific and concrete. Here’s a few—not all—just a few: The poor. The orphan. The elderly. Gender equality. Black lives matter. BIPOC. LGBTQIA. These are some of the divisive issues, causes, or categorical descriptions applied to our neighbors.

Is what I am saying or doing what I would want said or done to me if I were this neighbor?

Maybe the problem is with love and we no longer know what it looks like. If so, let’s look to Love Incarnate and ask, “Can what I am saying or doing be seen in what Jesus said and did? Can what I believe about my neighbor be seen in what Jesus said and did?”

We can give our answer and carry on with our actions, or we can carry on with all our baptisms, desperately baptizing our labels, theories, our upbringing, our way of life we are comfortable with, and other misguided doctrines. We can baptize it all in the waters of American ideology and partisan politics once, twice, or three times if we like, but they will still arise from the waters “twice the son of hell” (Matt. 23:15).

After being labeled a glutton, drunk, and friend of law-breakers by his neighbors, Jesus said, “wisdom is proven right by her deeds” (Matt. 11:19). The Lord’s just providence will see to it. Now or later, when “the Son of Man comes in his glory” and sits “on his glorious throne” to “gathers all the nations” to “separate the sheep from the goats,” the confession we made with our lips will be proven by our lives (Matt. 25:31ff).

Let’s be wise and choose love.

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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