Where’s the Love?

September 11, 2001 evokes many emotions in the American people.  Fear, horror, hatred, grief, unity, courage, heroism and bravery are just a few reactions that spring to mind when I recall the day that four commercial airplanes were hijacked and subsequently killed many and destroyed our nation’s illusion that we are safe from the world of terrorism.

Unfortunately, the residual effect from this horrendous event doesn’t seem to be love and forgiveness, but rather judgment and prejudice.

In fact, a dear friend who happens to be a Muslim and first generation American of Yemen descent has told us numerous times that he faces obstacles every time he travels by airplane.  Since 9/11, he has experienced many uncomfortable incidents with other passengers and security just because of the way he appears.

In addition, other friends who are Hindu of Indian descent have encountered similar situations of misjudgment, discrimination and unfairness when traveling by air since that fateful day.

Man, oh man…my heart aches for these friends.  Especially, since I know from personal experience that they are some of the nicest guys in the world!!

BUT, am I any different from the offenders?  Do I show the same prejudice to those who are of a different race, religion or financial status for that matter when fear is a motivating factor?

Uhhh…I really wish I could say ‘yes’ here, but I do not think that would be an honest answer.

Sadly, these merciless characteristics are found in each of us all too often when dealing with others who are different than ourselves.   The list of distinguishing attributes that create division among us is long and disappointing.  And it makes no difference who you are or where you are from!!!

The episodes of ugliness go way beyond the fear of a guy who looks like a 9/11 terrorist.  It includes people who choose another political party, way of life, different religion or live on the wrong side of the tracks.   Daily, we are faced with diverse individuals and have the opportunity to show the love of Christ.

So, WHERE’S THE LOVE?

Why can’t we smile instead of gawk?  Forgive in the place of blame?  Include opposed to reject?  LOVE INSTEAD OF HATE?  Shut our mouth when no one is asking our opinion or at the very least be kind when they do?  (I have a problem with the last one…sigh.)

I can’t help but recognize that many of us have become like the Pharisees found in the New Testament and I’m not just talking about religious people…WE is a collective word.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. Matthew 23:1-5

As I’ve said before, it is critical to remember that Jesus commanded us to love one another (see John 13:34).  And he did not give any ‘outs’ or ‘good reasons’ not to obey this directive.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; …. 1Corinthians 13:1-13

Therefore, as you remember the fallen victims and heroes of 9/11, please remember to be kind to others who look different, think different and may BE different from yourself.

The same God made us ALL and we will ALL stand in judgment by God one day (see 1Corinthians 4:5).

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

3 Responses

  1. 1 Corinthians 13: that whole chapter is a great testimony on Love. It is no wonder that verses 4-13 are used in wedding so often. I also like that it was used for the song “Proof of Your Love” by for King & Country. It is truly an Epic song with an outstanding message taken from that Book & Chapter. (Great album all around, if you have not heard it!)

    There are a lot of references in the Bible of where God galvanizes his believers against their enemies and marches His Soldiers into battle against those enemies. There are several throughout Psalms…David vs King Saul, etc. Also, Joshua and his taking of Jerico (Book of Joshua). Granted, the above examples are Pre-Christ / Old Testament examples and Christ’s words override anything that was done before Him. There was no point of reference for what we are dealing with today that Jesus would have been able to address in the time that He lived on Earth. I am kind of curious as to what he would say in regards to those that have made themselves enemies of God and Christ.

    Jesus did not want his followers to respond to evil with evil, hence “Turn the other Cheek” Matthew 5:39, but given the surrounding verses it sounds like he was referring to more one-on-one type confrontations. However, I have to think that he would not want his followers to not confront evil when a fight is inevitable or being brought to them. John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” As these are Commandments to Love by Jesus, it stands to reason that defending your friends or family would be an act of unconditional and very unselfish love. Unselfish Love is exactly what Jesus stood for. In today’s world, many fanatical sects of Islam will jail or even execute professed Christians or make them pay a fine for being an infidel (Non-believer of Islam). I will always acknowledge Christ before man (Matthew 10:32-33) If doing so, I were to incite a Muslim to violence against me, I’m just supposed to sit there and die? I don’t know about that… I am not the judge nor jury. I hope that I am never presented with the situation.

    At the end of the day, God obviously does not need defending since he is All-Powerful and will eventually reign judgment upon all. His Will will be done regardless of our actions or inactions. Yes, we should love all to the best of our ability and without a Pharisees heart or a book cover’s judgement. However, if faced with an evil aggression, I must defend my family and friends with ferocity as I believe that is an example of love as well.

    God Bless you!

    • Hey Jason! Thanks for your comments about today’s post. I am so NOT saying we shouldn’t defend our country, family or friends. I just want others (myself included) to be kind to the person sitting next to them even if they ‘look’ different than we do in the mirror. At the end of the day, I too am SO thankful God is in control and will be the judge of all. Have a blessed day!!! Thanks again for reading GEM!

      • I didn’t assume that. I absolutely agree with you. I have been guilty of it as well. I travel for business often and I have been worried when an obviously Muslim man came on to my L Train in Chicago with a sketchy looking box covered in duct tape and a snarled look of distain for the people around him. (True Story.) Guilty, I moved to the other end of the train car. Given what happened 11 years ago, I have a tough time not imagining the worst. I want to be there for my wife and kids and not part of someone’s jihad! Obviously, that is a big jump with the imagination, but you can’t help feeling concerned sometimes. God gave us an incredible mind that comes complete with a self preservation department and sometimes the staff drinks a little too much coffee.

        Keep the GEMs coming. I love a spirited Spiritual conversation; so hopefully I won’t pester you too much with the comments!

        Again, God Bless you!

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