Love is Hard Work

Jesus’ commandment to his disciples to “love one another as I have loved you,” seems simple, but we know how hard it is to live out when “the other” is someone you instinctively don’t like, or you find their behavior or politics reprehensible. Or worse, when it’s someone you have been taught or influenced to despise.   Sadly, some people have been raised actively to hate. They are taught. Nelson Mandela wrote, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. [and you might fill in the characteristic of your choice here, visible or invisible]. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Jesus was on to something psychologically. Truly, throughout history, while love comes more naturally, people have been taught to hate, to carry forward old, tired, hurtful prejudices. The Broadway musical South Pacific told of a relationship across ethnic lines, and the issue of racial prejudice. The romance between a young U.S. naval lieutenant and an Asian woman, is fraught with his fears of the social consequences of marrying her. Before he sings the particularly controversial song “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught,” Lt. Cable’s script line is “racism is not born in you. It happens after you’re born…” So the instruction to love one another is simple in words but can be difficult to live out. In the last fifteen years, as the struggle for marriage equality across genders wound its way through society and the courts, a favorite mantra was “It’s just love,” against a rainbow background. Of course, it’s just love, but it was remarkably hard to get through all that people have been “carefully taught” in upbringing and prejudices. My friends, hopes and prayers for change are not enough. To love one another means to work hard, and take action to make it real.

Blessings,      – Pastor Carol

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