Learning to Love

One of the greatest commandments revealed to Moses for the guidance of the children of Israel was, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Centuries later, the master Christian, Jesus of Nazareth, spoke of it as one of the two on which "hang all the law and the prophets." In looking over the record of the years since the Master's complete triumph over human hate, the record of wars and "rumours of wars," brother against brother, autocracy, monopoly, greed, we can readily believe that this simple commandment has not been understood. Indeed, it seems as though comparatively few can have even tried to obey it; for it is reasonable to suppose that had mankind understood it in its simple and scientific sense, with its practicability to meet all human needs, it would have availed itself of this law of God which brings "on earth peace, good will toward men."

Mankind does not admit that everybody wants good. But is it not a fact, nevertheless? Is not all humanity striving for something better than it already has, for happiness in some form or other? But happiness and goodness go hand in hand; and when the world awakens to realize that happiness is to be found only in goodness,—in being and doing good,—it will have taken the first step toward ending its troubles.

How are we, then, to obey this command in our dealings with our fellow-men? "God is love," wrote the Apostle John; and surely Jesus was, without question, the greatest demonstrator of divine Love that the world has ever known. How are we to love our neighbor? Not as the world loves, to be sure; but as Jesus loved, and vanquished evil. How are we to love others "as" ourselves when they seem to be unjust, irritable, hateful, or to manifest any of the qualities of thought which are unlovable; or when, perhaps, a loved one, a relative, or an employer, through a sense of injustice, irritability, or forgetfulness, seems to be standing between us and what we feel rightfully belongs to us? Indeed, how are we to love under all circumstances? "In him we live, and move, and have our being," says Holy Writ. Is there, therefore, any injustice in Him,—that is in God, good? Is there anything unlovely in Him,—that is, in divine Love? Can man, the image and likeness of God, manifest any hateful thought? Can we, therefore, depreciate man? What is it, then, that seems to make us dislike our brother?

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August 4, 1923

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