You Have One Job
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
Even in my own drug use, I still looked down on the addicted. Working in the ER, I often met those who came in, not looking for help, but rather seeking pain medications. They were difficult patients, whom I felt wasted my time, distracting me from taking care of actual emergencies. Yes, I knew where they were coming from, but rarely did I respond with compassion. I could have kindly asked about addiction and offered to get them help. Instead, I felt it was my job to project thinly veiled contempt so they wouldn’t come back.
As Christians, we often take this approach. We believe it’s our job to stand for truth and so, when we meet someone who doesn’t share our world view, we feel it’s our job to make sure they know how wrong we think they are. Maybe it’s regarding lifestyle, clothing choices, Covid vaccines, or maybe they simply have the wrong political campaign sign in their yard. Whatever it is, we know they’re on the side of wrong, and we feel it’s our responsibility to point them in the right direction, primarily with our contempt.
We know that we’re supposed to love our neighbors, but we don’t like them because they’re so wrong. So, we convince ourselves that the most loving thing we can do is to point them to the truth, which again, we do with hate. In the name of Christ, we’re rude, condescending, and unkind, because we believe we’re sharing the truth. Truth and love are not the same though, and loving our neighbor doesn’t mean hating them in the name of God.
In today’s passage, Paul said that as Christians our job can be summed up in one command – Love your neighbor as yourself. He quoted Jesus, who went on to explain that our neighbors aren’t just those who belong to the same political party or church that we do. We’re supposed to love those around us – even if we don’t agree with their view on politics or Covid vaccines.
Daily, we must look at our own interactions. Do we treat our coworkers, neighbors, and acquaintances with love? Or, do we pick fights and project contempt in the name of faith? As followers of Christ, we’re to follow his command to love others as ourselves. If we have one job, that’s it – Love your neighbor. If we find ourselves hating in the name of our faith, then we’re doing faith wrong. If we never get around to loving our neighbors in the name of Christ, then we must ask ourselves if we’re truly following him.