While I was at Starbucks tonight with some teens, we ended up talking a bit about God. Something a bit odd since we usually just talk about life, but eventually discussions on life do turn to God. We went all around in the discussion, from free will to incest and landed on sin. You know… is it a sin to have incest, is it a sin to be homosexual.
What this led to was my own thought about sin. I think Jesus made sin incredibly easy to understand, and immensely harder to follow.
Jesus came and said that there are only two commandments you should follow (the old rules can kind of be thrown away). You should Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. The second commandment is that you should love your neighbor as yourself.
Seems easy, right? It’s one of the great things from Christianity, while there is a lot of gray area, there’s also a lot of clarity. All I have to do is love god with everything I have. To do that I recognize the love I have for myself and give it, and then some, to Him.
Then, all I have to do is love everyone I meet (by neighbor he didn’t mean people I live next to, more people I am connected to, which is everyone I meet) as much as I love myself and my God. So, all the 10 commandments and sin stuff is gone, right? Easy stuff this following Jesus.
Except, of course, that I now need to love everyone. Meaning, I can’t kill anyone. I can’t swear at anyone. I can’t try to take anyone else’s wife or property. Right, none of those things are done in love of every other person.
Really, though, it gets even harder. Think about it, I can’t avoid the person who irritates me. Not only can I not avoid them, but now I have to try to connect with them emotionally. I may not like them and their actions, but I have to love them.
All those times I (er, other people I mean… of course) talk about how irritated I am at someone else. Is that done in love? Griping about another person or even the actions of another person, are not done in love. If I don’t want someone to gripe about me, then I shouldn’t gripe about them. Now I need to control my thoughts and my actions, because I don’t even want people to think anything badly of me.
Here’s the great benefit from this. If everyone did this, every word spoken would be in love. Everything said to you or about you would build you up, even criticism. Everything I say about someone will be with a positive spin.
Sure, bad stuff will still happen. Sure, life will suck sometimes. Sure, I’ll make bad decisions. But if everyone I come in contact with constantly showed me they loved me by being open and supportive, suddenly nothing I do is wrong. Things can be improved, but I’m no longer scared to take chances.
Every action we take, in love, is right. Every actions others take, is right. All of a sudden the world is centered on recognizing our differences, loving them, and coming to conflict not to win or be the best but simply to be together.
I sure hope I’m around when the world recognizes this simple message. Heck, I hope I’m still alive when I fully live this message.