There are No Loopholes

In case you missed it, there was an election in the United States last week. It was a particularly nasty run-up to this election; the worst I can remember in my almost 54 years. I’m not sure what was the worst in our history but History.com lists seven as the most contentious US elections (1800, 1824, 1860, 1876, 1912, 1948 and 2000). In my humble opinion, we have a new one topping the list. So since the election I have been trying to find some perspective. And this story keeps rattling around in my head. It’s a story we no doubt know, we learned it in Sunday School.

the-good-samaritan

I must admit to spending time labeling people I know as characters of this story. Who is the man on the side of the road? Who is the Priest or the Levite? Who is the Samaritan? Sadly, I label people in my mind as a way of shaming them. A way of diminishing what they think or what they do (or more often don’t do).

All of us are the lawyer

This week I have come to realize, I am attaching the wrong labels (at least part of the time). In this story, we are, ALL OF US, the lawyer. We know what we should be doing – “loving the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves” – but we, like the lawyer look for the loophole.

We want there to be a reason we do not have to love someone.

They’re too brown.
They’re too white.
They’re too liberal.
They’re too conservative.
They’re too religious.
They’re not religious enough, or heaven forbid their religion is different from mine.
They’re too straight.
They’re too gay.
Their family arrived in the US yesterday.
Their family fought in the Revolutionary War (or somewhere in between).

There are as many reasons to decide someone is not our neighbor as there are ways we are all individuals, with our own loves and dislikes. God knows, we have our own opinions! But you know, that’s what has always made this country a pretty cool place.

We’re Far from Perfect

Not perfect! Far from it. We have much work to do! There is great injustice. We are overrun with hatred. As a society, we are incredibly self-centered and egotistical. We are seemingly less tolerant of others than we have ever been. The divide between socio-economic groups is widening. There are problems! Major MAJOR problems!  But at the end of the day we are all neighbors. And even in this past week, I have had wonderful love and support from my friends on both sides. I’ve engaged in meaningful conversation with those with whom I greatly disagree but the conversation was civil and in the end, I still love them, and they me.

There is Only Love

Which is the point I think Jesus is trying to make. There are no loopholes. There is only love.
dr-martin-luther-king

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