Wednesday's Word: Mark 21:31

So much sadness and strife in the streets of America. So much perpetuated hate, from all directions. So much confusion, lack of education and understanding. So much selfishness, and so many cliques. Not in high school anymore? That doesn't seem to matter. We, not all, but most, will gravitate to people like ourselves. Whatever that means. In the military....other military families. An adoptive family....others who have adopted. White....white. Black....black. Rich....rich. Poor....poor. It's like that everywhere, with exceptions of course, but still, it's everywhere. 

God's first command to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, is followed up with Mark 21:31, The second is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these. 

I wasn't going to do another WW this month, but I can't get this scripture out of my head as I read/watch the news, or scroll through social media laced with memes and beautifully written posts about everyones lack of hate and undying love for people unlike themselves. We all know this scripture, I would guess even unbelievers who have never read the Bible have heard this quoted, or said it themselves. And I hope I'm not wrong in saying that at least the majority of us know this is not just the very literal person next door, but is your community, those you come in contact with at work, school, the grocery, or on vacation. But I have to wonder, is it any deeper than lip service? Do we actually love those that are unlike ourselves? 

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I'm going to drop this question out there either rhetorically, or not, depending on whether or not you wish to respond.....

How many of you have actually done anything different in the days since these latest riots? How many of you, especially those who have posted or shared these memes or posts of love and denouncements of hate, have gone to a coworker, or neighbor of different color and sat for coffee with them? How many have gone across the street, or town, to attend a church dominated by a skin tone different from yours? How many have told their children to sit at a different lunch table at school instead of sitting with the same kids they always do, to find someone different from themselves and try to make friends? I'm hoping it's way more than I suspect, but I'm doubtful. We are all way too steeped in our routines and the way we've always done things.

I'm not pointing fingers. And I'm not going to talk about what we have done in our home, because other than conversations of possibilities with our kids, so far, it's nothing different than our norm (which coincidentally does include occasionally driving across town to the church our kids affectionately call "the loud church" to worship with friends). But truly, have we considered how we intend to make a change in our communities and our streets, if within each heart and home, a change doesn't take place? No matter where you live, racial tension is not as far from you as you may think it is. 

Let's look for the opportunities to cross the street. Let's stop placing blame and accusing the other side. Let's take Mark 21:31 for what it is, God's command, and actually love others as we love ourselves. We all want better and best for ourselves, so let's seek to find that in others. Let's seek to narrow the divide in our own small circle of the world, and eventually our circles will begin to overlap.