LOVING ONE ANOTHER IN DIVISIVE TIMES
(Wednesday, November 1)
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-3)
Our words, however wise and well-informed, become like meaningless noise, if we do not have love for the person or people to whom we are speaking in the moment. I think this is why we sometimes speak past one another, when discussing the divisive issues, because our own “wisdom” on these issues sometimes becomes more important to us than the people in front of us. For example, I might have a bleeding heart for “the poor” in general, or for the suffering either in Israel or Gaza, or both, – but if this morning I speak in a love-less manner about this issue with a friend who disagrees with me about it, losing sight of my love for this friend, “it profits me nothing.” I am called to love and care for “my neighbor,” who is first and foremost the one I encounter on my journey today, in my time and space or on my social media.
Today let me cherish the person in front of me, especially when he or she disagrees with me on this or that topic. Let me take pause and pay attention to those I am called to serve in my immediate surroundings, *not* because I am necessarily wrong on this or that issue, but because my immediate neighbor is a human being in need of love, just like me. I might “understand all mysteries and all knowledge,” as St. Paul says, but what’s the point of all that, if I fail to show and foster love for my neighbor(s)? Let me prefer “right being” to “being right,” so that I can also witness more effectively, at the right time and place, to the truth on the issues about which I might be knowledgeable. Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes!