I find it interesting that what the Bible absolutely, and without a doubt, clearly teaches are often times the very things we REFUSE to do… which is love your neighbor, love your enemy, forgive the unforgivable, do not judge, do not fear, do not create divisions, and do not fight or wage wars (just to name a few absolutes).
In reading second Timothy, I am dumbstruck and confronted by what we Christians use to justify tearing down neighbors and dividing our communities in order to stand for some type of political or religious ideology that somehow trumps the command to Love. In thinking about this, I thought about a particular biblical passage. So, I decided to take that passage and adapt it to the present moment.
If I protest against war, injustices and oppression, but do not have love, I have become nothing but a repetitive noise and deafening sound. If I am for abortion or against abortion, if I stand for respect or kneel for the rights of the disenfranchised, and if I take up the sword to fight for freedom, morality, rights and liberty “but do not have love, I am nothing.” If I liberally give all that I own to the sick, the marginalized, the poor and the abused or I lay down my life for my country, my religion and for what I believe is right, good and true “and do not have love, I am profited nothing.”
The original text reads…
1If I speak in the tongues of human beings and of the angels, but do not have love, I have become resounding brass and a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophecy and know all the mysteries and all the knowledge,w and if I have all faith, of such a sort as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I distribute all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may be burned, and do not have love, I am profited nothing. 4Love is magnanimous, love is kind, is not envious, love does not boast, does not bluster, 5Does not act in an unseemly fashion, does not seek for things of its own, is not irascible, does not take account of the evil deed, 6Does not rejoice in injustice, but rejoices with the truth; 7It tolerates all things, has faith in all things, hopes in all things, endures all things. 8Love never fails; but if there are prophecies, they will be made ineffectual; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be made ineffectual. 9For we know partially and we prophesy partially; 10But, when that which is complete comes, what is partial will be rendered futile. 11When I was an infant, I spoke like an infant, I thought like an infant, I reckoned like an infant; having become a man, I did away with infantile things. 12For as yet we see by way of a mirror, in an enigma, but then face to face; as yet I know partially, but then I shall know fully, just as I am fully known. 13But now abide faith, hope, love—these three—and the greatest of these is love.” The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13