It started out as just another early August morning. My oldest daughter and I had just pulled out of the driveway and I was off to drop her at early morning swim practice. I had my coffee in one hand and had just started down the road. I couldn’t have even been going more than 15 mph yet when a squirrel came out of the next door neighbor’s yard just to my left. He leisurely (as it appeared to me) came out into the road. He stopped and I assumed he was going to dart back into the yard as he saw my car. Unfortunately he chose to continue to leisurely cross the road. I had not committed to stopping my car as my assumptions of his decision to actually cross the road startled me. That’s when it happened. I hit the poor squirrel. I cringed and looked into my rearview mirror to see the animal now on the other side of the road. I felt yucky.
Like why did he so leisurely cross the road??!!?? Why didn’t I slow down even more??!!?? Why didn’t I slam on the brakes??!!?? Why did I feel so bad about a dead squirrel??!!??
We continue on our morning ride. As soon as I pull out onto the highway I’m in the right hand lane and see about 6 geese leisurely waddling in the lane. This time I’m prepared and slow down and switch lanes so not to harm one little feather of these animal friends. As I look into my rearview mirror I see all the cars behind me do exactly the same. Slow down. Switch lanes. No feathers harmed.
After I dropped off my daughter, I return the same way I came. As I get to the spot where the geese were walking I notice they are now gone. But I turn to my right and see an entire “party” of geese in a school parking lot and playground!
Those geese were just waddling over to their friends. They wanted to be with those other geese. Now if you are familiar with geese, they aren’t exactly the nicest of creatures. If you see a bunch of them in a parking lot or at a park you know not to bug them because they may chase you or honk at you. And if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough for them to live in or near your yard, you quickly find out how dirty and gross their fecal matter is that seems to be left everywhere.
Regardless, I remember that still all those cars slowed down, switched lanes, and politely moved around these birds instead of hitting them. Some of the people on the road that morning were like me needing to get their children to sports, some were probably on their ways to work, and some of them were probably just starting their mornings of running errands.
But they still slowed down.
They still switched lanes.
Not one feather was deliberately harmed.
So why do we not treat other human beings with the same care and concern as we do for the animals that cross our paths? Why don’t we treat other human beings with the same compassion?
God surely loves all of us and he for sure calls us to love each other. In the book of Exodus, God is talking to Moses about chiseling out the stone tablets with the commandments. In it he describes himself:
Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. – Exodus 34:5-7
This is the Lord that I follow. This is the Lord that thousands of people follow. So why do we still portray hatred and unkindness to others, while also saying we follow the Lord? Take a moment to really think about it. Hatred is around us everywhere and this hatred is not God given.
What makes people’s blood boil up in hatred? Is it the politician or group of politicians on TV that aren’t from the same political party as someone claims to follow? Is it that person or group of people that practice a different religion then someone practices? Is it that person or group of people that are a different color or have a different sexual preference then those of someone else?
They may be different then you or I, but God loves each and every one of “those” people.
EVERY SINGLE ONE.
My friend, if He loves me then He loves you. If He loves you then He surely loves your neighbor. I am living proof of those verses from Exodus. He has been compassionate and gracious to me in so many instances. He has been slow to anger so many times in my life when I have made bad choices. Through all of that, he has only shown me abounding love and faithfulness. And the best for me yet, is that he has FORGIVEN ME FOR ALL OF MY WICKEDNESS, REBELLION, and SIN! Hallelujah to that Lord that I love! He has loved me through so many times when I have sinned and fallen short. And every single time he has forgiven it and loved on me through it. He has shown me kindness and love. Mercy and grace.
He calls on us to love one another. He has made each of us in his image. He didn’t want us to be cookie cutter images of each other. He chose instead to make us in a beautiful rainbow of different colors. With a beautiful rainbow of different ideas inside our heads. He doesn’t want us to all think alike or do the exact same things. However, he does want us to LOVE powerfully. If each of us LOVES the Lord with all of our hearts, then we will love others around us. Jesus himself tells us in Matthew 22:37-39:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
God gave us 10 commandments we should always follow, but Jesus himself tells us there are two that are above all the others. LOVE GOD. LOVE OTHERS. It’s as simple as that my friend.
The next time you begin to feel your blood boiling or the anger for another person rising in your throat, think about Jesus. Are you showing love to God or others by letting that anger spill over into hateful words, actions, or thoughts? That is the scary thing about hatred and dislike. You begin to feel, act, and talk as if you are better than someone else.
Don’t forget that God didn’t make you better than me. He didn’t make me better than them. He made each of us out of a great love – to simply love.