It really is that easy or at least that simple. No one ever said loving every person in the world was going to be easy. We have been over “who is my neighbor” more times than one might care to count. We have been over the greatest commandments: loving God and loving neighbor (who happens, again, to include everyone). We have been over loving your neighbor. We have even been over, although slightly less often than the rest, loving ourselves (which the second greatest commandment has sneakily embedded in it’s verbiage).

We know these things. We believe these things.

Do we live these things?

We cannot both choose love and choose to be hateful. We cannot both choose love and threaten people. We cannot both choose love and marginalize people…shut people up…or put people down, no. Love demands more of us than that or else it lacks the two key elements – that love truly be loving and that love truly be unconditional.

Love unconditional. That should be the filter through which we pass our words, our facebook posts, our tweets and even…and this is the hardest one…our thoughts about other people.

We need to ask ourselves a few questions:

Does this course of action make me more loving or less?

Do I have my “guilty pleasure” group that I rationalize ways to think and behave unloving toward?

What conditions have I placed upon my willingness to feel and express love for another person?

Is the love I project to others true, deep and from the heart or is it a faux love based on what is expected of me or even just obligation?

We have a long way to go and I am convinced that the only way ahead will include love.

This doesn’t mean we will all agree. This doesn’t mean we will all approve of everything everyone is doing (I don’t even approve of all the things I do all the time!) but none of those things have ever been a criteria for unconditional love for the very reason they are conditions.

So let us disagree lovingly and dialog lovingly. Let us Facebook lovingly and drive lovingly. Let us examine the scriptures together…even those we disagree on…lovingly. Oh it is a tough road but it is the right road. I hope to see you walking it with me. And when you see me step off that path, feel free to lovingly correct me!

Welcome to February at Wineskins!