All You Need Is Love...Really

Author: Lisa Brown
June 05, 2019

For the next few weeks, CIBOLOCREEK is presenting a series called “Understanding Your Friends’ Faith.” I suspect the importance of learning about the faith of others may be a very foreign concept for many of us. In the fundamental Christian household where I grew up, I was certainly not taught to understand or appreciate the faith of others who lived or believed differently than we did. 

I grew up in a neighborhood full of kids of various ages. We all played together all summer long, running barefoot, riding bikes, and playing games. We just had to be home when the street lights came on at dusk. Although I loved to play, I was usually one of the youngest on the street, often getting left behind by the big kids. Then we got new neighbors, and there was a girl named Lila Saed, who was near my age. I was thrilled to have a new playmate, but then my parents told me I wasn’t allowed to enter her home. They were different. They were Indian and apparently couldn’t be trusted. Looking back, they were probably Hindu. What a great friendship I may have missed out on due to my family’s prejudice. 

That was just one example of the way I was taught to feel about, and behave towards, those who were different from me. I don’t remember being discouraged from saying demeaning things about those who were poor or who had special needs or from a different ethnicity. I’m not proud of that, but I share it because I believe such attitudes are, unfortunately, not uncommon in the Christian church, and have been seen throughout history in the Church as well, but they are contrary to what Jesus called us to.

As Pastor Paul taught last week, the entire Bible can be summarized in three words: love your neighbor. Jesus taught us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

How can something be so simple, yet so complicated? It should be a relief to know that all Jesus requires is that we love God with all our heart and love our neighbors as ourselves. It’s easy to love those around us who share our beliefs, but it’s harder to love those who are different. It’s easier to stay around people who are like us, but that’s not what God called the Church to do. God created everyone, including Muslims and Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists, and Jesus died for all of them, too.

Throughout the years, I have been fortunate enough to work and live near people whose ethnicities and beliefs differed from mine. My prejudices quickly fell away as God led me to people who began teaching me what it means to love my neighbor. Some of the friendships I’ve developed with people different from me have been treasures that changed my view of the world.  I believe if we take the first step in obedience, God will begin to teach us how to love his people—all of his people. 

Maybe you’re reading this, and you share my interest in making friends with people of different beliefs and cultures. If so, I believe that God can greatly use that for his glory. If the idea of loving and getting to know people of different backgrounds with different beliefs makes you uncomfortable, I encourage you to take just one step in kindness toward someone different from you. You’ll be amazed at how God can use you as you bravely trust him in your obedience.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …” 1 Peter 3:15


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