What is it that makes it so hard for us to like or love what we don’t know or understand?
Sometimes it’s like we must know the background, the storyline, and circumstances before we can make the right assessment to either love or disregard. I feel this is a huge issue not only in Blount County but in our society; therefore, why I want to briefly write about it.
We are all raised in different cultures and most cultures handle everyday life differently. But different does not mean of less value. Different just means we may look at life through a whole other set of lenses. This, my friend, is a good thing because each culture displays God’s glory as each culture is full of God’s masterpieces. Every person in every culture was knitted in the womb by the Lord, and they have something to offer even if it seems different. I am sure somebody in Maryville, TN, has a different background then somebody from Saudi Arabia. So how can we take different and get rid of the negative connotation that so often applies, and transform it where we see God’s creation with a purpose? Quite simple, really… Love before you have an opportunity to create a false assessment.
Now, on the flip side, I am no way in saying that everything that is different is innocent because that is not true. Evil exists and often looks “different.” As a believer, it is important to ask the Lord for more discernment in your everyday life. With more discernment, the Holy Spirit will give you a fresh assessment of the circumstance and will guide you. So, to sum up, the meaning that I am trying to convey to you is, do not let yourself (your flesh) get in the way of loving others. Quit always trying to find a reason to love and just love!
I also believe that love should not only expand across cultures but should be spread towards others with different lifestyles. Let’s take an example from a news headline recently. Ellen DeGeneres and George W. Bush made headlines because they were on camera sitting beside each other and laughing during a Dallas Cowboys football game. This swept through media and was painted as a negative story due to each other’s opposing beliefs. Many people that share the same viewpoints with Ellen came out against the whole situation and said stuff like, “How can you be seen enjoying life with somebody that has opposing views and is against what you are for?” Her response on her show was incredible. She responded with, “When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way you do. I mean to be kind to everyone...” I applaud her on taking the opportunity to use her voice to tell others to be kind and love others regardless of differences.
Let’s look at the scripture, Luke 10:25-37. It’s the parable that Jesus gave about the Good Samaritan. It’s a story about an individual who ran across somebody that was different, but he (the Good Samaritan) had compassion and loved anyway. Its story about being kind without knowing all the reasons why. It’s a beautiful picture of loving somebody before any of the details really matter and not because he had to but because he gets to. Loving others doesn’t mean you agree with their lifestyle. It just means you see people as God sees them! Jesus states in Matthew 22:37-39, “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus didn’t say, “Let your neighbor somehow prove he deserves it.” I believe it sounds more like ‘Love your neighbor before it really matters!