This is one of those scripture phrases that we just like to think nice thoughts about. I might admit that I am not loving my neighbor all that well. It is also one of the scripture phrases that reminds I how taking Jesus at his word is a shock, because what he is saying is about me. I am not doing well at what he is yet again telling me to do. Also, I am coming more to sense that loving my neighbor is not about nice feelings, overlooking perceived or even real offenses, putting on an act that is “nice” to folks I don’t like. Looking at how Jesus lived shows me that, among other things, he tackled whatever was making people hurt, eg temple religious system laws, roman civil system, something referred to today as corporate sin.
Jesus’ words are addressed to me about how I am called to live, not how I am to expect others to live so my life will be more convenient and comfortable. There is so much finger pointing, accusing, and blaming going on today. It is a lot easer to do that than it is to let the Spirit show me how I am part of whatever problem I am accusing others of causing. One of the first things I learned in the Army was from a very highly decorated priest who told me, “Don’t spend your time and energy condemning what is bad, use it to promote what is good, and the bad will take care of itself. If I focus on the bad, I feel I don’t have to face my involvement in whatever it is I am upset about. When I don’t like the finger pointing and polarization that is all around me in our country and in the church, how am I involved in being part of it, and what is the Spirit calling me to do next. It’s easier to blame than to accept my responsibility and act.
I want to keep doing my best to be open to the Spirit in everything, and have the courage to look at myself and do whatever the Spirit is moving me to do.