I just returned from my family’s annual campout in the UP. While we are not entirely off-grid there, cell phone reception is spotty and depends on the whim of the wind.
We got only bits and pieces of the news from Charlottesville, Virginia. We got just enough information to start an argument between two of my family members. Funny, isn’t it? News about the lack of love on a large societal scale prompted a lack of loving behavior on a smaller scale in a family.
As we returned to civilization (aka, solid cell phone reception), my husband and I got caught up on the news—and I could read my Facebook feed.
Sadly, I saw anger and hatred from people at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Many people were pointing fingers and standing up for rights without also reaching out in love. I understand the anger and defensiveness, but folks, we cannot find peace and unity when we spew hatred and discord.
Fortunately, in the midst of the angry and defensive posts I saw on Facebook, I also saw meme after meme with these Bible verses:
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
For God does not show favoritism. Romans 2:11
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. Acts 10:34-35
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
I realized something as I read these memes: they were posted by my friends and family on both sides of the political divide. For the first time in a long while, many of my friends who disagreed on so much were agreeing on the importance of being loving. This realization warmed my heart.
A friend once asked me why I write about marriage and sex when there is so much injustice in the world. “Why don’t you use your gift to make a bigger difference?” she asked. Here’s the thing: big change has to start somewhere.
Just as the large-scale opposition we see in the news can show up at our dinner tables and family gatherings, I believe that what happens in our homes can spread out into the world. Every time we encourage someone to love more and to love better, we work toward a bigger difference.
Each of the Bible verses above encourages us to love and accept others in our communities and elsewhere–even those with whom we disagree. No matter where we stand on social and political issues, we all probably need to work on living out these verses better.
I ask that you also be sure to live out these instructions at home, with your husband: You and your husband are one in Christ Jesus. Know that God does not favor one of you over the other. Fear God, and do what is right. Love your husband as yourself. Remember that Jesus died for your husband’s sins as well as for yours. Live in peace with your husband, and be holy. Love your husband as Jesus has loved you.
Love has to start somewhere. Why not start by loving your husband? Love him while he is mowing the grass. Love him when he is sick. Love him when he is spending time with your child. Love him when he is stressed from work. Love him when he seems unlovable, and love him when he is serving you. And yes, love him in the marriage bed.
God requires us to love each other, so let’s all get on that, okay?
Photo by Chris Taylor