And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1st Corinthians 13:13 KJV)
This past week I had the opportunity to speak at the 33rd Nyack NAACP interfaith MLK Day service. One of Dr. Martin Luther King’s primary themes during the civil rights movement was conquering love with hate. The Beetles wrote a song that said: “All you need is love, love is all you need.” The Bible says in 1st Peter Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins; this seems easier said than done. When you have experienced love, it might be simpler to understand the call for love. I am not talking about Eros love, which is the physical, sensual intimacy between a husband and wife. It expresses sexual, romantic attraction; I am writing about agape love. Agape is used to describe the love that is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself: “God is love” The type of love that characterizes God is not a sappy, sentimental feeling such as we often hear portrayed. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely, not because we deserve to be loved or because of any excellence we possess, but because it is His nature to love and He must be true to His nature.
I believe it takes more energy to hate people then it does to love people, and of course, it is easier to love those who love you back; it is tough to love those who treat you mean for no reason at all when they have never taken the time to befriend you. I even struggle with this, as Michelle Obama says: “when they go low, you go high.” We are all work in progress, but we must strive to love the unlovable and sometimes reach out of our comfort zones and smile at someone and speak to someone and on occasion get to know someone who has pre-judged you. Sometimes we must remember it is nothing we have done directly to them; it could be a person’s experience, where they displace their hate or dislike on you. Everyone was not raised the same way; not everyone comes from a home where love was flourished upon them. Many people have not gone to a place a worship, where the love of God is taught and preach. We must not take everything we experience personally it is not a reflection of you. Continue to show forth the love of God because the word of God lets us know that the greatest gift is love and God is love. God Bless.