– Ben Martens

Love One Another

I don’t know that I’ve ever posted about Martin Luther King Jr. Day before because I feel that I’m better off listening. Spend a little time doing that and you’ll hear endless examples of how racism is still prevalent at both micro and macro levels, and even if we magically removed it today, the effects would carry on for generations.

Dr. King’s taught that we should treat everyone equally. I know that many of you, like me, are Christians, so this shouldn’t be a new message to us:

  • “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34
  • “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:44
  • “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39
  • Fifth commandment: You shall not murder. What does this mean? We are to fear and love God, so that we neither endanger nor harm the lives of our neighbors, but instead help and support them in all of life’s needs.

Loving everyone equally isn’t a new message, but looking around the world today, it’s clear that we all need to be reminded of this frequently. It extends far beyond racism. Compare two minutes of any news channel with Ephesians 4:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

It’s so easy for us to slip into using divisive phrases that group people into “us” and “them” and then it’s easy to start degrading “them”. Whether your side likes words like birther, Trumpster, and misogynist, or if your side uses commie, libtard, and “Let’s go Brandon”, none of that comes close to “building others up according to their needs.” Check out Martin Luther’s explanation of the 8th commandment:

We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.

I don’t want to detract from the reason that we remember MLK’s work today and the work that still remains, but in addition, it’s a good time to think about how I can do a better job of treating everyone the same: we’re all sinners in need of a savior. I need to reflect God’s love back into the world, and if I can focus on that, I’ll not only do a better job fulfilling MLK’s dream, but I’ll help point a lot more people to Jesus.