Love Thy Neighbor
By Elder Jason Malveaux, Bethesda Temple Church
Scripture: Mark 12:31
As we grapple locally and nationally to resolve the problems wrought by diminished resources, unemployment, under-employment, and a healthcare system that is bleeding all over the balance sheets, Â we really need to enact a new policy.
Yet it is not new at all, it has been since God commanded it to Moses and Jesus solidified it as a building block of the church.Â What is this policy?Â â€œLove your neighbor as you love yourself.â€
Never has the question of brotherly love and kindness been more centrally focused than it is now.Â The love Jesus spoke of here is a type of husbandry for the health, welfare, and well-being of people in our communities.Â We, the Christian community, people of faith, must urgently take the lead in pressing our society toward a living embodiment of Jesusâ€™ command.
Jesus issued a comparative commandment.Â More specifically, we are asked toÂ examine our own healthy, financially sound, meaningful lifestyles and look for ways to care for our fellowman the same way.
We bear a sacred responsibility to treat our friends, family, acquaintances, and yes, a stranger or two with the same respect with which we afford ourselves. Â The time is now that we move history forward, not by single acts of heroic stature, but by our daily observances of The Great Commandment – Love Godâ€¦andâ€¦Love thy neighbor.
During times of catastrophe, Americans opened their hearts, homes, and wallets to clean up and rebuild what the forces of nature or malfeasance destroyed.Â However, we seem to find it difficult to remain outwardly focused when the process of rebuilding is protracted.Â Americans seem to place an enormous responsibility on its government to carry the load of Love thy neighbor.
Thorny questions must be answered that require soul-searching and corresponding actions.Â If we were the victims of a Hurricane Rita or Katrina, a Haitian earthquake, an Indonesian tsunami, or a terrorist attack; if we were suffering from a life threatening illness and being given the run around by our insurance company; if we were every 10 th person we come in contact with who has lost their job; How would we treat ourselves?Â How do we want to be treated?Â Then, do it.
Whether our times are prosperous or perilous, whether we soar on warm mountain currents like eagles or sway in the gale force storms like trees, whether history calls us to take arms against our enemy or take our fallen brotherâ€™s hand, we do so, not in answer to history halls to earn our place among heroic bands, we do so in answer to a sacred demand to extend to our brothers the same care we afford ourselves.
Though for doing so our names may never be mentioned as great Americans, they certainly will as stand before the majesty of God.Â Mahalia Jackson sang it best, â€œ If I can do my duty, as a good man ought, if I can bring back beauty, to a world up wrought, if I can spread love’s message, as the Master taught, then my living shall not be in vain.â€