Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version) "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
I recently attended church at the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. From the minute I stepped in the door, and watched members greet each other with sincere hugs, I felt that this was a place where the candle was still lit; the Spirit was still in attendance. I do not feel that way everywhere I attend church, and what a pity that is! Especially right now, when the political battles are being fought in churches... which should never be! Churches are not places to condemn and show hatred, no matter how much we may disagree with another person's opinion or even lifestyle. Churches are places where we should acknowledge that God loves even our enemies, and He expects us to love them, too.
How quickly we forget that Jesus showed this love in the story of the good Samaritan. Samaritans were enemies of Israelites, at that time. But the Samaritan (not even 'a christian' of the time) showed love and compassion. Often 'christians' feel they have the moral right, and even duty, to use hateful words towards those they disagree with, whether that disagreement is politically, morally, or religiously based. We feel that we have the right to 'clear the temple' of those whom we disagree with. Only Jesus had that right. He left us with the command to love those around us. We are not only guilty of not showing love, but we are guilty of passing it on. Our children are becoming bullies, with sad and horrific results. They learn this from us. Should they not instead learn how to give sincere hugs to those they come into contact with, no matter who they might be?
Beware: I do believe that the first of the two commands is the hardest of the two, and that if we cannot love the people God has placed around us, we have become incapable of loving God.
Be loving today. Catch thoughts of hatred as they pass through your mind and ask God to remove them forever. Do not judge another person's motives and beliefs, just pass on love to them so that they can see a loving God living in your heart.