[As you may have noticed, I’m trying out cheesy names for features that could become regular if and when this blog becomes remotely popular, such as ‘Quick Fire Quote’, or this, ‘Blast from the Past’, where I’ll post a quote from a long dead Christian. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be gained by looking at preachers like Spurgeon and Calvin, even though they seem a bit old and dusty to many people today!]
Love thy neighbour, too, albeit that he be of a different religion. Thou thinkest thyself to be of that sect which is the nearest to the truth, and thou hast hope that thou and thy compeers who think so well, shall certainly be saved. Thy neighbour thinketh differently. His religion thou sayest is unsound and untrue; love him, for all that. Let not thy differences separate him from thee. Perhaps he may be right, or he may be wrong; he shall be the rightest in practice, who loves the most. Possibly he has no religion at all. He disregards thy God; he breaks the Sabbath; he is confessedly an atheist; love him still. Hard words will not convert him, hard deeds will not make him a Christian. Love him straight on; his sin is not against thee, but against thy God. Thy God takes vengeance for sins committed against himself, and leave thou him in God’s hands. But if thou canst do him a kind turn, if thou canst find aught whereby thou canst serve him, do it, be it day or night. And if thou makest any distinction, make it thus: Because thou art not of my religion, I will serve thee the more, that thou mayest be converted to the right; whereas thou art a heretic Samaritan, and I an orthodox Jew, thou art still my neighbour, and I will love thee with the hope that thou mayest give up thy temple in Gerizim, and come to bow in the temple of God in Jerusalem. Love thy neighbour, despite differences in religion.
Charles Spurgeon (Love Thy Neighbour- Aug. 9th, 1857)
‘Love thy neighbour, too, albeit that he be of a different religion.’ A point that seems so obvious, and yet a point that is so often overlooked in modern ‘Christianity’. Sometimes it can even be within Christianity that the most hate seems to surface; denomination vs. denomination is the line up in a fight which seems to be fought all too often. And yet that famous example of Love, the story of the Good Samaritan, is one where Jesus highlights the importance of love across cultural, social and religious boundaries. How are we to call ourselves Christians if we don’t act like he did? It becomes even more clear when one brings the controversy surrounding homosexuality into the picture. There is so much fear and hate surrounding that topic that it alone turns people far from Christ. But we are to love as Christ loves. As Christians, we are to be the constant in a fluctuating world, an un-flickering beacon of light to all humans, not just the ones we happen to agree with. We are Christ’s ambassadors, his representatives, his stand-ins until he returns, and, as a church, we better start acting like it.
This song isn’t on the topic of religion, or sexuality, but it illustrates the importance of Love. Love as defined by Jesus.