"Hold hands." We felt someone grab our hands to cross the street or form a circle. This instruction from childhood presents a big challenge as we get older. It’s hard to hold hands with someone if we’ve made a fist or insist on pointing fingers. Loving our neighbors requires us to reach out. Long before Facebook encouraged us to “Like” or “Unlike,” God asked us to “Love.” The choice to “Unlove” doesn’t show up anywhere.
That last line really grabbed me when I read it. I read several blogs, many featuring Baptist pastors and laymen as contributors and commenters. One of the things that frequently seems most noticeable by its absent in these discussions is the most basic command that Jesus left with His disciples of loving one another. There are a couple of frequent commentators on these blogs that cause me to wince as soon as I see their name appear, even before reading the contents of their comments. That's because invariably their message is one of hatred and rejection of anyone who fails to interpret the Scripture exactly as they do--the classic example of a fundamentalist mindset. It makes me wonder how they can read the same New Testament I do and overlook or neglect Jesus' repeated emphasis on love and His statement that the world will know that we are His disciples by the way we love one another. When rabid zeal for orthodoxy as one understands it completely blots out any demonstration of Jesus' ethic of love, something is dangerously amiss.