Arguments, Sympathy and Love

October 14, 2016

I was considering writing about politics, but I don’t feel its necessary to fill your heads with more hatred and anger (but Gary Johnson for president!). I felt it more appropriate to discuss the power of relationships.

This week I got into an argument with one of my best friends. I’ve known this guy since I began Elementary school. He and I didn’t really become friends until high school, but currently he’s one of my closest buds. The argument was pretty childish and was started by me – I gave a selfish response to him after he had shared something quite serious with me. I didn’t even stop to consider his feelings, so I shared my own. While my comment was true and I still believe it needed to be said, the timing was all wrong. I didn’t give him any good graces, I just said what I wanted him to hear, and it was all about me.

I think many times in our lives, we find ourselves being a lesser man (or woman) because we want to get our word in. We disregard what the other person says. We care only for our input. What we ought to do, is respect our fellow man, listen to what he has to say and do our best to sympathize with them. If we cannot properly empathize, the least we can do is try to put ourselves in their shoes and love them.

Many times, I have attributed the human condition to our selfishness, and I’ll likely stand by that till the day I die. If you make life about your struggle, your expectations and your achievements, you’re going to lose out every single time.

Our calling is much higher than ourselves, we’ve been called with a mandate to “love your neighbor as yourself.” I’d argue this is absolutely the hardest thing anyone can stand to do because if you take a look at who your neighbor is, you might be disgusted. When Jesus presents the lawyer with the Parable of the Good Samaritan, he is literally calling him to love those he has complete hatred for. The Samaritans were completely resented by the Jewish community – they were the enemy. Jesus told a lawyer to go and love someone he ought to hate.

What does that mean for today? Who is our enemy? Who hates Americans as much as we hate them? Fill in the blanks yourself. Either way, we are called to love them.

Now, my friend is obviously not my enemy, but I need practice loving my enemies as well as I love my friends don’t I? If I can’t love my neighbor that is closest to me, how can I expect to love my enemies well? This kind of  love is meant to be given without condition. Love is a choice we make, and it is far more than a feeling of affection. Love is work. It sounds impractical and even insane, but it is Heaven’s Mandate, it is Humankind’s Great Commission.

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