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(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

During what we know as the Last Supper, Jesus spent much of his precious remaining time trying to prepare his followers for how they needed to live after he was gone. And, what was the lesson he felt most compelled to share? Just this: Love one another.

The words from the lectionary (April 24, 2016) read:

John 13:31-35

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. 33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

We, like the disciples before us, are so often slow to learn. When Jesus said to love one another—he meant to love everyone. But the disciples weren’t certain that the type of love shared with people who were like them should be shared with people, well, not so like them. Not just shared with people who were known as sinners, but also with people outside their faith and traditions. And, yet as those disciples and followers grew in their faith and understanding, they began to get it—Jesus had really meant for them to love everyone. Let us so grow in our own faith and understanding that, we, too, show—through our actions and our words—what it means to love everyone.

Who are we to hinder God and his plan for love for everyone?

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

You know that old saying, “Unless you stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”—well, that’s why having beliefs matter, why having something to base your life on matters. Yes, actions speak louder than words, but if you know what you really believe, it’s easier to direct your actions, even if you sometimes fall short.

I’m not saying that you have to believe exactly as I do, but I do think the world we live in needs a whole lot more of us attempting to live out the tenets of the Golden Rule—doing unto others as we would like done unto ourselves. And, it’s not good enough only applying the Golden Rule to people we consider similar enough to us to be considered our neighbors. We’ve got to do a better job of looking out for everyone, both in our individual interactions with people and through how we treat people as a whole in our society.

This “looking out for number one” stuff just doesn’t work for building up the social order. Yet, sometimes it seems as if many of us support tearing down much of what has been built for the greater good in the last century. I mean, if it doesn’t affect us then, does it really matter?

Most of us have never experienced the absoluteness of a time without social safety nets which makes it easier to believe in the power of the individual. We didn’t live through the Great Depression or World War II, or a time when widows, orphans, the ill, the disabled, or the elderly had to rely only on the kindness of voluntary institutions or donors.

When we try to understand others’ experiences, we have a better chance at feeling empathy for and caring for others. But even when we can’t really begin to understand those experiences, we still know in our hearts quite a bit about how we want to be treated—and not treated—by others.

Believing in the Golden Rule is all about believing that other human beings matter, despite knowing that others don’t always deserve our good treatment any more than we always deserve good treatment from others. By extending each other more credit than we warrant, we lift up everyone—and, consequently, the world in which we all live—together. From this belief my best efforts and actions follow.

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