Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
* * * * * * *
We take sides. We look at headlines, choose an issue, and take a side. Those who claim their side for righteousness' sake are most vulnerable to being cruel to the one who stands on the other side. What have we gained? A cycle of hatred with both sides often claiming the name of God. A few weeks ago I chose to read a book by an author whose world view was light years from mine. The author did not change my mind about the issues but by the end of the book, I didn't hate the person. I confess I didn't even know that hate was there until it stopped. Hate doesn't always riot. Sometimes hate is just a microscopic bacteria that latches onto a healthy cell waiting for a vulnerable moment. We are all at risk to throw bricks in the name of God and propell them with the cancer of our hate. The only good option is to love first and listen well. Love still means that we will take a side but when love chooses a side, it picks up a brick not to throw it but to find the best place to lay it down to build a bridge.
* * * * * * * *
Holy God, Help us to love in deed and in truth. Amen.