If you’ve read any of my blogs, you have come to know that I am a “man of faith.” I am extremely grateful for everything God has given me in this life and as I like to say, I am Beyond Blessed! Many of you who know me on a more personal level, however, also know that I have been actively involved in organized athletics for most of my life. From the time I was just 8 years-old I participated in 9 different sports and ended up playing both football and lacrosse at the collegiate level. I once felt that one of the nicest compliments ever paid to me was when one of my college coaches referred to me as a “fierce competitor.” I liked that description even though I now realize that some of that ‘fierceness’ brought with it some ‘not so nice’ behavior. Looking back, there were several incidents I wish I could re-live so I would have the opportunity to respond and act differently. Such is life.
Now, as a much older and, hopefully, wiser individual, I am seeing our world through a very different lens. I want our world to change. Oh, I realize that this is God’s world and I, as one person, cannot change this world. But, I can change ‘my world’ by who I choose to be and how I choose to treat others. You can do the same.
Living through the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 8 to 10 weeks, we have all had to alter our behaviors. It was like we all got a cold ‘slap in the face’ that said to us, “Hey man, you are NOT the one in control.” And, our lives have forever been changed. We’ve lost over 100,000 lives to the Coronavirus in the U.S. alone. We’ve seen our schools and businesses get shut down. We’ve seen the economy tank and unemployment numbers soar. We’ve seen graduation exercises and Senior proms, very special once-in-a-lifetime events cancelled. We have been ‘locked down’ in our homes and now we are all walking around wearing masks like we are living in a giant hospital ward. Our lives have been changed forever! And on top of it all, while we are seeing wonderful examples of love and kindness on the part of the front liners and so many others who are in support of them, we have witnessed ungodly, insanely horrific, unjust actions against people of color in our country. Such actions cannot be justified under any set of circumstances or condition. And I find myself asking God, Why do these horrible things, what one man will do to another man, happen in this world?
Like the ‘not so nice’ behaviors from my athletic career, these horrible events cannot be undone. But we can, we MUST, learn from them. And we MUST, as a people, change who we are. If we want our world to change, WE must change. In order to make that change, we must begin to focus on the one and only thing that can truly help us change this world – Loving Our Neighbor as We Love Ourselves.
As is stated in Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
There is no other way we can or should exist on this planet. We are ALL loved children of God regardless of our race, color, creed, gender, sexual identity, or nationality. You want to see healing? You want to see our world change? Then adopt an attitude that says above all else, I am going to love my neighbor! When we make the choice to do this, YOUR world, MY world, OUR world becomes a better place for all of us.
Are we going to have our differences? Of course we are. Are we going to have different political beliefs and opinions? Absolutely we will! But, we must always love our neighbor, treating each other with dignity and respect. We must never forget, we are ALL neighbors to one another.
In many ways, we have been living in a world filled with fear, anger, hate, anxiety and sin. Nothing of value or good comes from any of these negative emotions or actions. When we truly come to that realization and make the choice to choose LOVE first, we will begin to heal and see a better world for us all.
As I finished reading my meditations this morning, I asked Alexa to play “Hits from the 60’s.” The first song that played was “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles. Ironic? Maybe. God reaching out to me? More likely. The next thing I knew, I was humming the song, and then singing the chorus along with the Fab Four….
All you need is love,
All you need is love,
All you need is love, love,
Love is all you need.
Two hours later, I find myself still humming this tune and singing the words. But I also find myself changing the last line of the chorus to….
Love is all WE need.
Going forward, I’m going to make singing this chorus part of my morning ritual. In fact, I am going to remind myself to keep humming and singing this song throughout the day. Why? Because really, Love is all WE need. We need to love our neighbor.