Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Verses on getting along in peace and harmony keep coming up in my devotions, which I blame on God. I have learned that when God really wants me to pay attention to a particular thing, that thing will show up in my life in a number of ways. It’s kind of like praying for patience, which I do NOT recommend. Praying for patience typically results in suddenly having to wait for everything - the longest check out line, traffic jams, check in the mail is late, Amazon delivery is late. You name it, you’ll have to wait for it.
Clothe yourselves with love. This is certainly not what we are hearing from the news and social media these days. We keep hearing hate and divisiveness, accusations and counter accusations. The language of love - words like caring, compassion, empathy, mercy - seems to be entirely gone from the national vocabulary.
Me, I preach love every Sunday. I write about love most every day. So, I have to wonder why God keeps putting love language in front of me lately? Perhaps I am not clothing myself with love? I confess I do get angry about some of the things I see and hear, but I make every effort not to lower myself to that level. . .
And that right there is where I am falling short. The idea that I am somehow at a “higher” level than someone with whom I disagree. There is arrogance involved in that attitude, that they need to change their thinking to bring it more in line with my thinking. I have spent the last 30 years learning to allow others to be themselves, to make their own mistakes, to have the right to their own opinion and way of living. It seems that I haven’t fully embraced that lesson just yet.
I mean, some things are simply wrong. Period. Murder is wrong. Arson is wrong. Threatening the life or livelihood of another is wrong. Rape is wrong. Treating someone differently because of their race, gender, religion, etc. is wrong. Hate is wrong.
But beliefs and opinions that differ from mine? They are not necessarily wrong, just different, unless those beliefs or opinions grow into actions that will cause harm or damage to others. For example, it is one thing to believe that the husband should be the head of the household. It is another thing entirely to believe that, as head of household, he can beat his wife and children into submission. (October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)
Loving acceptance of others the way they are, as God accepts all of us, sometimes seems almost impossible. But it is what we are called to do.
Loving God, you call upon us to love one another. You know how hard that is for us, especially when we disagree vehemently about stuff. May we be reminded that people are different from one another, and that is as it should be. Help us to love without judgement, so that we may live in harmony as one people in your care. Amen.