It seems to me that you can’t do one without the other.
One of my favorite book series is The Giver. It’s a dystopian young adult novel, and the premise is that this kid, Jonas, is chosen to learn the history of his people- something nobody else knows about. There’s a concept called Sameness that is employed in his community. Basically, all differences have been eradicated.
Everyone dresses the same. Everyone lives in the same type of house. And everyone uses precise language. Climate control provides the same weather all the time. They’ve even been able to get rid of all color in the name of Sameness.
Jonas starts to realize what else is lost when celebration of differences disappears. You lose beauty. You lose love.
So, back to “love your neighbor.” Jesus didn’t say “love your neighbor as long as he’s straight.” As long as he’s a he. As long as he’s the same color as you, or as long as he’s American.
Jesus put zero stipulations on that phrase. Love God and love God’s children. That’s it. We try to overcomplicate it by dehumanizing people, but every human has the same yearning for love and acceptance regardless of anything else, and God loves us all. So, take all the baggage away, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Stephanie Wilczynski writes from Texas.
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