Coldplay took one of your lines: “My song is love.” You sang it centuries ago when you explained the whole “love your neighbor thing.” I liked your jam—until you included everyone.
I’d like to gently remind you that there are a lot of annoying and terrible people out there. Can’t we just stick with the ones we like? But even annoying and terrible people love those who love them, you noted. So what’s so heroic or noble about loving people who love you?
Fine. Way to call me out. But why’d you have to include everyone? I’ve got enough on my plate, man. I’ve got reading due for class, packages for the post office, a dress to hem, a profile picture that was old days ago and needs to be updated with something artsy and mysterious (preferably showing me having the time of my life or looking off pensively into the distance). So why are you asking me to be loving to the guy that talks too much in my group discussions, the mom driving the minivan that just cut me off, the screaming kid at the coffee shop?
I forget your tune a lot of the time or I hum it until I get to that certain lyric—the one that includes loving everyone, even the annoying and terrible people. I catch myself muttering under my breath, being super impatient, tuning out when that annoying guy talks, shaking an invisible fist at the minivan, glaring at the screaming kid. But I never feel good afterwards. I never think: “that showed them!” and then skip away joyfully. I feel ugly afterwards, even a little cheap. And then your song is left incomplete. I wish I could mute it sometimes. When I’m angry or slighted, I tend to think it’s not as catchy. But your words are for us. It’s actually why we’re here….to love.
You tell me we cannot be okay with only loving those that love us. I look around at our world and see that we mostly preach love and understanding and then retort at our co-worker, share the great gossip about that person from high school, slump people into categories, exclude others. We defend the rights of the poor on social media and our resumes and then attack the co-worker who left dishes in the sink, the roommate who let the food get moldy, the “unsupportive” friend, the ignored guy in our discussion groups, the sleep-deprived mother who cut us off, the crying kid in the coffee shop. These are our neighbors, whether we chose the neighborhood or not. These are who we are called to love.
You call me to live these words. Not in Scripture, not online, not in my head, not even in my heart, but in the real world, in an “un-noble” but profoundly noble way—in the daily, mundane moments of my life, the moments I may never be recognized for.
Let’s sing together, shall we? I’m a little off-tune. Teach me the whole song.