Love Thy Neighbor

“Love thy neighbor”… the three most powerful but also most simply and humbly spoken words Jesus had ever said or were ever written within the New Testament. And when Jesus spoke this, he stated that to love thy neighbor was a second commandment, as great as his first, which was to love thy God with all one’s heart, mind, and soul.  Mathew 22:36-40 

In Galatians 5:14, it is stated, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” For critics of the LGBT community who quote Deuteronomy or Leviticus and state homosexuality is a sin and abomination– that may be true– in terms of Classical Greco-Roman definitions of homosexuality where elder men sexualized younger boys beyond the more acceptable aesthetic appreciating and idealizing of youth, beauty, athleticism, and virility in art– but the warnings about homosexuality were warnings and condemnations of a specific sub-culture of homosexuality that was promiscuous, perverted, pedophiliac, and amounted to frivolous fornication.

For those that criticize the LGBT community and cite the Law as given to Moses to deliver to the 12 tribes of Israel in order to condemn all LGBT persons, it is important to note that Jesus makes it very clear that he is the fulfillment of that Law of Moses and has expressed the two commandments that fulfill that Law now that he has established a new covenant or new promise to the people by his grace and presence. Those two commandments are to love thy God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love thy neighbor.  We fulfill the Law given to Moses when we love God and love others as we would want to be loved.

Our neighbors may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, intersex, transgender, persons of color, white, Republican, Democrat, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, atheist, Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and so on… and we are commanded to love and respect and care for each and every one of our neighbors as we would want to be loved, respected, and cared for ourselves.  It goes back to us being human beings.  To be human means to be humane.  We cannot be a humanity if we can’t respect our fellow human beings.  That means we need to show compassion, concern, care, respect, and love for each other no matter our backgrounds or where we are at in life. It is a simple concept! No wonder it is a fundamental commandment and so important.  All Law boils down to love– love for God and love for each other.

Just because it is a simple concept to hear and read and understand, does not mean that it is as simple a concept or commandment to follow. We each have our personal preferences and biases and maybe even secret prejudices. Red Sox fans prefer to mingle with other Red Sox fans… New York Rangers fans prefer to be among fellow Rangers fans and tend to avoid rubbing elbows with Flyers or Bruins or Devils or Islanders fans– I get it… and some Christians have fears and biases concerning Muslims in their communities… and Jews have fears and concerns about Muslims as well… and Evangelicals may have concerns and fears regarding the LGBT community…. and Muslims simply are concerned about fundamentalists that attempt to hijack their religion and faith and twist it and turn into something corrupt and vile and destructive.

It is so easy to divide each other and separate and find safety and security in cliques or groups that conveniently share our views and beliefs… but we are stronger as a people and nation or world when we can build bridges together and build those bridges to link our commonalities or build them for the sake of our mutual well-being. If we can just care about each other and think in terms of having to share this one world we have with each other, it may be easier.  If we are truly invested in making sure we all live fulfilling lives, there is no room for hatred or bigotry or discrimination.  Only love– and that is God’s Law.

— Bible Scriptures quoted from the King James Version


About Rachel Conlin McLeod

Transgender activist, Christian at First Baptist Church in Willimantic, Connecticut. B.A. in History and Social Sciences, B.A. in Sociology Freelance writer, tutor, research assistant Loves hockey, ballet, women's gymnastics, and Bible studies.
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