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Love is complicated and complex. One of the biggest Levitical laws is “Love your neighbor as yourself” and is attached to not holding grudges. A rabbinical story in the Book of Legends examines this command by saying that it is not enough to just act differently because we want to be seen as different, rather that if that is our reason for acting we are in fact guilty of holding a grudge for we see ourselves as hurt by another and better than them. Our call to love is not about being better or even being equal to another, but to see the world differently at its core.
The Rabbis continue to point to the idea that if we make a slight wrong, our actions should treat it as a serious offence against another, and when we do good, our actions should treat it as a trifle. Yet we should celebrate the slight good acts throughout the world as great things, and the great wrongs as mere trifles in our lives. We must set aside our own wishes in favor of other’s wishes. Not as martyrs, but as a way to see the world as cooperative not competitive.
Love is seeing others as equals regardless of station in life, without comparing ourselves to them. This is why our God who is Love instructs us to treat the outsider as the same as ourselves or any other. There is no difference in others, we are commanded nothing more in our personal interactions than to honor and love one another. This is from a God who comes to us not to be served, but to serve. This is our example, a God who reminds us that our actions and attitudes are connected, and actions will not change without changing how we see the world.
Love is not comfortable, it is not simply pity or benevolence, but a change in attitude where we see others as we see ourselves and thus see all as deserving the very best from God, this world, others, and especially from ourselves.
Giving & Loving God, may we not be comfortable until all are comfortable, may we not feel complete until your love is the only law we need. Help us to see others as you see them, images of you. Amen.
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