Loving my neighbor does not preclude justice or punishment for the commission of crimes. This post is about an aspect of what I believe it means to love one’s neighbor. While I use 9/11 and the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death as examples of this idea, I believe this has a broader application.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I remember the attacks of 9/11/01. My knees went weak when I saw the jet fly into one of the towers.
I remember watching the news and seeing people cheering over the devastation caused by the attacks.
Anger was my constant companion as their joy unfolded on television. I wanted justice.
Justice was my code word for revenge. Quite simply, I wanted people to agree with me, not lecture me.
But I am not called to revenge or anger. I am called to love my neighbor.
“Who is my neighbor?”
My neighbor is my friend and my enemy.
My neighbor shares my beliefs and opposes them.
My neighbor looks like me and nothing like me.
My neighbor loves me and hates me.
My neighbor is created in the image and likeness of God.
Jesus died for my neighbor because Jesus loves my neighbor.
“Not my will…”
We are called to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. I would rather love the loveable and despise the despicable. That is my will. I wish it were God’s will.
I will not celebrate my enemy’s death because I do not believe Jesus would celebrate anyone’s death.
Out of love for God I will not mock and ridicule the deceased. I will not pump my fist, high-five, or wave my flag.
I remember my anger.