Loving One Another

"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:27-36 (NRSV)

Gabe Herman is from South Dakota. When he was 11 years old, a new family joined their church. Alex, the 13-year-old boy in this family, was a bit of a wild child. Gabe mostly avoided Alex because he thought he was too loud and immature. After a few months, Gabe's mom told him that she had scheduled an afternoon for him to hang out with Alex. Gabe was not thrilled by this proposition. His mom did not force Gabe to go, but she said she thought it would be a good thing to do because Alex didn't have many friends. God tugged at Gabe's heart, and he agreed to go. Alex and Gabe had fun, and from then on Gabe spent a lot of time with Alex. To this day, Alex remains one of Gabe's closest friends.

God calls us to love all people. Gabe believes God sets up situations like this one more frequently than we may notice. Now when Gabe finds himself not wanting to be around someone who is different from him, he thinks back to when he met Alex and reflects on the blessing that their friendship has been. He remembers that God loves him unconditionally. So what excuse does Gabe have not to love those different from me? What excuse do we have? God loves all of us and we should do the same.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be open to new freindand to love others as you love us, in Jesus' name, amen.

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