We Christians quote Jesus often: “Love One Another.” But – we often say it with reservations. After all, we believe that “Love one another” applies only to those immediately around us, those who are the “another” in the quote are our families, friends, our “tribe,” those who are like us. We feel the freedom, the justification to be ambivalent, even filled with hate, toward others.
Thus, for LGBTQIA folk, we love and protect others like us but sometimes demean those who are not, just as others have treated us over time. Most of us have been in situations with others where we feel uncomfortable and that could be based on ethnicity, gender, race, language, and a whole host of other things. So sometimes we say or do things that may not be so “Love Others” in spirit. Things like showing disdain for someone, making snide or catty remarks or dismissing some group of folks outright. You know all of the examples I could list.
Maybe it is time to broaden our outlook. Even though, with the availability of marriage, we have moved closer to the inside, as outsiders, we have the perspective to empathize with other outsiders. Let’s make a concerted effort to encourage that empathy in ourselves and in those around us.
Maybe it is time for all of us to let down some barriers.
- Getting to know someone of a different race – not just to speak to at work, but to really try to understand that person.
- Find a way to make a material difference. There are lots of options from donating monetarily to your favorite charity to actually giving some of your time to that charity.
- For instance, at Church of Our Savior, each month we collect different items for the Community Caring Center of Boynton Beach: school supplies, portable food, underwear (because folks get lots of lightly used outerwear but often have no underwear), food, especially for the holidays, and so on.
- Again, there are lots of examples.
The point is that “Love One Another” needs to be broader for all of us. We need to work to understand those whom we perceive as “different”. We need to step out when we see another group being pushed away, treated as the “other”. We are called to love, not just emotionally, but through our actions.
Think about what loving one another means to you, then act. You willfind that it is worth it. And – we will be blessed along with those around us.
Rev. Wendy R. Woodruff, Pastor
Church of Our Savior MCC