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.