As I have loved you, Love one another,
This new commandment: Love one another.
By this shall men know Ye are my disciples,
If ye have love One to another.
(Hymns, 1985, no. 308.)
This won’t be a long post and I will add to it, I’m sure, but today as I listened to an audio book – Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy – two thoughts came to mind:
- I can’t remember all the sexual references when I read this as a high school senior!
- I didn’t realize Hardy viewed Christianity as something archaic, provincial, smothering, etc.
That thought led me to think of the struggle to spread the Savior’s message of charity, forgiveness, and redemption. And many of the problems have been initiated by Christians themselves. Some examples:
- Unrighteous behaviors of kings, popes, and Christian folk in general. And when I say UNrighteous, I mean more than horrendous – torturing, burning, warring, and killing in the name of the Lord. I do NOT get that.
- Horrific actions of horrific hypocrites: while we are ALL hypocrites to some degree, I cringe and I cry when I read about well-respected church-goers who hold high positions in their congregations and testify of the Lord on Sunday and abuse their spouses and children on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
- EXTREME views of sects that attack the beliefs of other denominations – burning the Koran, protesting funerals of fallen soldiers, teaching congregations false information about other churches.
- And on the other side, the mocking and belittling of those who try to live righteously that rises from many (not all) atheists, agnostics, intellectuals, entertainers, authors, artists, etc.
- Secularism that is replacing faith, hope, and charity with skepticism, greed, and unbelief.
It’s a wonder that there are people of faith left. Seriously. But with so much against those who want to be true disciples of Christ, there is much support as well: A loving Heavenly Father, a benevolent Savior, the Holy Ghost. And They love us ALL. And ALL means ALL!