In Bible class this week, my professor told the story of a girl struggling in her faith — just like many of us.
She spent hours telling him how her faith was weak and how she didn’t believe in this or that. After tiring of her disbelief, the professor finally asked her, “Well, what do you believe in?”
Thinking long and hard, she finally responded, “I believe in love.”
And I believe in love, too.
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees that our country is divided. We’re divided politically. We’re divided racially. We’re divided socially. And we’re divided religiously.
It’s not hard to find examples of this in society. Turn on your local 24-hour news channel to discover the mudslinging that is the race for the presidency. In the same location you can find the reports of discrimination. Drive across town and you can see those living in completely different circumstances than you — circumstances you’d never dream of. Walk into the local church and see the young members accusing the older members of being set in their way, and vice versa.
There’s no doubt that we’re a divided people, nation and church. It hurts me to see prejudice and politics sever our humanity.
I wish I knew a solution. I wish someone knew the solution. I just don’t know. But I know where we can start.
We can start with love.
Like the girl who questioned her faith and her beliefs, I’m assured that at the core of every person — know matter circumstances and situation — is the desire for love and the desire to love.
Love has gotten us further as a people and as a church than anything ever. God displayed his magnificent, all-encompassing, unbiased love. Jesus took that love to the cross for us, and that love saved us.
Instead of degrading someone who we don’t agree with, we should show them love and respect the idea that we’ll not agree with everyone.
Instead of seeing color, we should see another human — willing to receive love and ready to give love.
Instead of isolating the gay person, the outsider, or the one who is different than us, we should show them love and humanity.
No matter the differences, unbiased, all-encompassing love has to be displayed to all.
Jesus didn’t give love to just the Jew or just the Gentile. He didn’t give it to just the teachers of the law or just the tax collector. Jesus gave his love — his sacrifice — to all. And it’s our duty to reciprocate that.
We have to reciprocate that love, a 1 Corinthians 13 type of love…
… love that does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud
… love that does not dishonor others
… love that is not self-seeking
… love that is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs
… love that does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth
… love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
I firmly believe we are an inherently good people with good intentions. We don’t set out from the beginning of life to defame and destroy. Somewhere along the way, our good intentions get tainted or told differently. If we make a pact to give more love and receive more love, maybe we won’t be so divided. Maybe we’ll see past the divisions and the barriers…
…because I believe in love, and I know you do, too.