Learning To Love is the Big Lesson of Life
Learning to love is the big lesson of life. You and I may have never met before, still, we have much in common. Even in our differences we have similarities. For instance, we might live in different parts of the world, however, we both assimilate our perceptions and attitudes about society from the culture in which we are brought up. This is true of the culture of our home, church, school, and community. Some of those attitudes are good – others not so much. When Jesus came into the world He first came for the lost sheep of Israel, then to the rest of the world. However, it seems that His message has often become distorted and confused. Jesus’ message has always been that we “love one another” with no conditions.
Things get complicated when we assume that our job is to transform cultures and reconstruct the world into a place where everyone looks, thinks, speaks, and acts like me or you. The good news of God’s love is for individuals. Some of those individuals will influence their culture or their government, education, etc. but that is not our primary concern. We miss the point when the transformation of other cultures becomes more important than loving other people: people who will always live in a context that is different from ours. That is where all the “ism’s” come from – racism, sexism, ageism, etc. They most often find their beginning in an arrogant assumption that they need to be like us. That’s why learning to love is the big lesson of life.
“Here is the message: Don’t lose the love because of pride.”
When White folks, in the name of Christian civilization, took the names and language of Native American people and insisted on making them like the White man, they lost the love that was essential for making peace. Transformation is intended to be a spiritual issue not a municipal one. Christianity doesn’t need a flag to identify itself. Here is the message: Don’t lose the love because of pride. As simple as that sounds, it is the one way Jesus said that a person is identified with Christ. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn 13:35). Marriage is the ultimate model of love because it involves commitment and sacrifice if it is to last.
“…there are roughly 6,500 currently-spoken languages in the world”
The United States is the most diverse country in the world. Its citizens are of various cultures, languages, ethnicities, and beliefs. Each culture has many different subcultures. My parents are from Kentucky. My wife’s family are from West Virginia. I was born and raised in Michigan. 50 States means at least 50 different potential cultural influences. When visiting other countries it’s easy to recognize differences from North to South and East to West – from political views to the preferred brand of tea.
- The continent of Africa has 54 countries
- with between 1,500 – 2,000 different languages.
- There are roughly 6,500 currently-spoken languages in the world. Each one with a wide variety cultural influences. Interestingly, some people believe English to be the most-common language.
- However, Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world.
“God’s Love is big enough to handle all of our issues”
And it’s not just race and religion. Never in the history of the World has more attention been paid to sexual orientation. That doesn’t matter to me as much as YOU matter to me. I love YOU, at least I am doing all that I can to maintain an open heart toward God and all people. I have no desire to investigate another person’s sexuality. That is difficult enough for a person without an outsider like me having an opinion. All I can do…all that I want to do…is Love you. After all, the issue of sexual identity is more about identity than it is about sex. I simply cannot afford to have an opinion about another person’s identity. I must accept each person at face value – as they present themselves to the world. God’s Love is big enough to handle all of our issues.
“Blessed are the Peacemakers”
So, to wrap up this diatribe, it is harmful and against logic to assume an Us vs. Them mentality. That sort of protective-identity position starts conflict and discrimination. Only 1 thing can help understanding and peace have a chance, and that is Love. “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” If learning to love is the big lesson of life, then let’s do our homework because there’s a test tomorrow.