Love Thy Neighbor

So, I couldn’t help myself this morning (not that I tried very hard) — simply had to add my two cents worth when a friend posted this picture on Facebook with a comment about “would you wear this shirt?”

lovethyneighborMy first response was a long the lines of:

the second part of this is “love thyself” — my overweight self, my angry self, my happy self, my addicted self…

And that is true, to me. If I love my neighbor as myself, then I’d better love myself or the neighbor won’t be very pleased with how I “love” them. I’ll despise and hate those neighbors that remind me of the parts of myself where I am still at war with myself.

I felt ok about posting that thought in a public place.

Her brother took exception to the sentiment on the shirt, pretty much calling it PC BS. He stated that it is a two-way street, and we certainly don’t need to love those folks (groups represented on the shirt) especially when they are out to harm us. He said he would never wear the shirt.

OK.

Love your neighbor… doesn’t seem to be optional for a Christian (and I suspect for people of other faiths as well) to love your neighbor. There is no mention of how your neighbor feels about your or how your neighbor treats you. I totally agree that people have a right and a need to feel safe and to exercise judgement in relationships. Sometimes love can be really tough, and not all fun — ask any parent of a teenager. But, loving your neighbor isn’t optional.

The best thing about the exchange this morning is that is certainly helped me to understand my own beliefs. It helped me to look at my strengths and my shortcomings. And, I pray that I was able to express my own beliefs and hopes without destroying someone else. After all, we are called to love our neighbors.

 

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