February 27, 2007

Love Thy Neighbor--Seriously

This article from Ethics Daily talks about one of the most basic principles of Christianity. I'm sure many readers here cringe when they hear a reference to the Book of Leviticus, but there is some good stuff in there, especially this from Leviticus 19:18:

".....you shall love your neighbor as yourself (NRSV)

The writer goes through numerous specific examples from the Bible that tell why God expects up to practice "neighbor-loving," then summarizes his view on this:

Neighbor-loving is hard, but it is not optional—not for followers of the Christ, neither then nor now.

Neighbor-loving is hard, but it's not impossible. Numerous saints and saints-in-the-making have shown us the way.

Neighbor-loving is not mere neighborliness. It includes the people next door, but extends to those most difficult for us to love: those not like us, who may not like us, whom we do not like, and whom we yet are commanded to love like neighbors.

The part that really jumps out at me is "those not like us, who may not like us, whom we do not like." Let's face it, practicing love toward others who are like us and who we like as people is not that difficult.

GLBT people often bear the brunt of hatred and discrimination, not love, by people not like them. That is wrong and, as this article clearly and effectively lays out, it is ungodly, even when it is done in God's name.

It is also encumbent upon the GLBT community and its straight allies to treat those who aren't like us or whom we don't like with love. It is a two-way street and God has the same expectations of all of us.

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