Sunday, March 18, 2018

Luke 6:31 -- On Desiring Love and Erasing Hatred

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
Luke 6:31

We hear this a lot I think, but perhaps it deserves more consideration.  In asking us to do this, I think Christ is asking us not only to really consider how we wish to be treated, but also asking us to consider the perspective of others.  As we connect those dots and realize that other people feel what we feel and have similar wants and needs and ... confusion, and frailty, and so many other things that get in the way of us being perfect, it helps us to feel compassion.  It helps us to humanize other people and to think about them as people rather than labels or objects.

It's easy to assume evil intention in others, but I think that it actually exists far less often than we assume.  Usually, people aren't out to get us, but are instead, like us, doing the best they can with the knowledge and experience they have.  We learn different things at different times, and we ourselves have all done bad things in the past, have we not?  We know that we either regret that, or were grumpy that day, or didn't really mean it for some other reason.  Because we can understand that sort of situation, let us then work to assume the best rather than the worst, trying to de-escalate conflict, being as kind as possible, and giving people a chance to respond positively even if they started out negatively.

Do we ever desire to be yelled at?  Do we ever desire to be treated with disdain or mockery or to have people promote violence against us?  If not, perhaps we should back off from those things, and others that no one would want to experience, and really think carefully both about how we desire to be treated, and about how we treat others, and the gap between those two things.

Today, let's follow God's commandment and try to lessen that gap, and learn to treat ourselves and others with compassion and kindness, giving each other room to grow and learn and become closer to God.  As we desire to be loved, let us offer love to others, making the world around us better rather than worse, and working to erase the hatred we find in our own hearts.

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