I was working on a Thanksgiving post (which I obviously did not post, or finish for that matter), and I wanted to finish it up until this morning when I read this.
Let's just sum up my thankful list and say I am thankful today for three things.
1. Over-the-counter medications. 2. My amazing husband, Casey. 3. People like the blogger with the guts to post this article.
Never had I read anything more powerful in the cause for true Christian charity until this article. It’s called “I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay.” At the end of the post, he includes a link to a newer post containing responses to his call for love in the world (which I am purposefully not posting so you click it yourself after reading the article). The first two he posted made me so angry I wanted to yell through my tiny iPhone screen at the people who had the guts to write such hateful things and claimed to be Christians - exactly what this post was trying to combat.
Then I read the positive responses. I cried. Casey, dead asleep next to me didn’t notice any of this, but these powerful responses and stories of hope moved me to the point that I couldn’t help but leap out of bed (almost literally) and share what I read with anyone and everyone I know. I posted the link to Twitter and facebook. I commented on the post. And I sat down to write how I feel.
Since returning from my mission I have not felt so compelled to share a message with the world. The amazing gospel message should have a way to include this more vehemently within the teachings. Christ truly said love everyone. I’ve known this since I was a little girl. I remember being maybe 4 or 5 years old, sitting in the Primary room, singing my little lungs out because I knew that the pure love of Christ taught among children through lyrical melodies is the love that all mankind is meant to feel. I remember sitting there hoping and wishing that everyone could feel as great as I felt sitting in Primary.
My testimony of Christ has always been there, sometimes as a blazing fire and other times more like a flickering match, almost out of fuel to keep it burning, but when I remember that 4 or 5 year old me sitting in Primary, there is no doubt in my mind that God loves me. Jesus love me. And a part of that knowledge means sharing that love with everyone.
I remember my first semester away at BYU-Idaho. One of my dearest friends had stopped talking to me on a regular basis. Every time we chatted it was brief, she obviously had a million things to do, but in the back of my mind I knew something was wrong. Finally, I confronted her (online via AIM if I recall). I asked why she wasn’t talking to me as much as before, and if something was wrong. She admitted that she thought I wouldn’t love her anymore and confessed that she had done something against my religion. Not her own beliefs, just mine. She told me that she knew I couldn’t love her anymore after what she had done, and I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t care what she had done! She was my friend and I loved her regardless of her actions. I told her that I am not one to judge and the action had nothing to do with our friendship. There was no betrayal. No hurtful action made. I told her I truly didn’t care and I loved her just as much as ever.
Maybe she doesn’t remember this, but I think on it often. This same principle applies to everyone. I have been commanded by God to love those that hate me and to pray for my enemies, and I am hell bent on doing so. I do not pretend to be perfect in this, I know I have fallen short of loving everyone, even in my own family, but if I have loved anyone less, I beg their forgiveness.
Buddha taught that, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”
I’m making a goal here and now - and issuing a challenge at the same time - to love those that hate me, no matter who they are. From elementary school bullies to rude coworkers, from exes with grudges to spiteful siblings, I love each and every one of you. Yeah, even that kid from the bus in kindergarten who poked me in the back of the neck with a pencil. Even the old friend who declared me an enemy and blocked me on facebook. Even the one person at work who as soon as he opens his mouth I try to tune out and walk away.
I’m going to love you all if it kills me.