Sunday, May 4, 2014

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”― Thomas Merton

When Christ knew His time on this earth was ending soon, He called His followers together and told them that “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”   These were their and our marching orders—to love in the same unconditional, sacrificial, and nonjudgmental way that Christ loved us.  I had a seminary professor who would have preferred that Christ hadn’t said that.  This professor believed that it was impossible for us to do that, so many would turn away from Christianity because it would be too difficult to live up to what Christ wanted of us.  He shouldn’t have worried because most who call themselves Christians just ignore this “commandment” and take it as a mere suggestion or something that only Saints would ever be able to do.  You see it is hard to be a racist, sexist, ageist, bigot, bully, or self-centered and actually follow Christ’s only commandment.  It was not a suggestion, or request—it was a commandment.  I believe this is hard for us to do because we do not love ourselves and therefore have difficulty loving others.  M. Scott Peck, a famous writer of positive thinking about ourselves wrote, “Not only do self-love and love of others go hand in hand but ultimately they are indistinguishable.”   He is right, of course.  We have to stop comparing ourselves to others we can never emulate and just accept ourselves for what we are, warts and all and love who we are.  A famous car restorer sees a rusty junky car in a barn and sees what it can become if he takes it and works his magic upon it.  Christ sees us in the same way, and we have to learn to let him have us as we are and change the way we are internally and stop worrying about what we look like on the outside.  This message is a simple one if a hard one to do.  Love yourself and then you can follow the one true commandment that Christ asked us to follow.  One of the ugliest women in the world by beauty and celebrity status was one of the most beautiful women ever in the history of the world because she loved herself and followed Christ’s commandment.  Her name—Mother Teresa.  Saints are never judged on how they looked but by how they lived.  So will we all be judged on that final day, not on how we looked, but on how we lived.  Please, love one another as Christ loved us, and we will change the world.
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