- I am not qualified to be writing this.
- I am white.
- I am heterosexual.
- I am middle-class.
- I know nothing of what it means to be a minority.
But I am human. And that is qualification enough. Because as a human, regardless of my race, sexual orientation, or financial status, I am called to love my neighbor.
This past weekend, our neighbors were not loved.
They were victimized—shot, and murdered in Orlando, Florida, in one of the largest mass shootings in US history.
My heart breaks.
When did we stop loving our neighbor and start hating anyone who wasn’t a cookie cutter image of ourselves?
Jesus set forth an amazing example of love when he commanded us to love our neighbors—ALL our neighbors. Not just other white, heterosexual, Christian, middle-class people.
He is talking about gays.
But there is more.
God goes beyond just telling us to love our neighbors in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. He calls us into action.
“…A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:30-32).
Reading this passage was painful because I am the priest.
I am the Levite.
I am the sinner.
I don’t directly discriminate against people of other races, religions, or sexual orientations.
I don’t incite violence upon them.
But yet after this shooting, like so many others over the past few years, I will be a passive by-stander. I will move to the other side of the road, and go about my daily life. As much as it pains me to hear of the violence, it does not affect me so I am spared. I can continue on my path, my own life journey, without fear because I am a person of privilege in so many regards.
“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two sliver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have'” (Luke 10:33-35).
Thankfully the story did not end with the Priest and the Levite. Thankfully there is still time in my story of life and your story to be the Samaritan. To not just be a person passively loving our neighbors, but actively loving our neighbors.
Love is an action.
God calls us to action. My remorse for the victims is not enough. My anguish and pain for the violence that has overtaken our nation is not enough. God is calling all of us to stand in community. To walk to the other side of the street to care for our neighbor. Even when it is inconvenient. Even when it takes courage. Even when it is not always the most popular thing to do.
God calls us to advocate for our neighbor.
God calls us to stand up against discrimination.
God calls us to actively love one another even when… no… especially when, we are different.
God calls us to love.
photo by (flickr CC) AlmaArte Photography