Matters of Faith: Love One Another

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately.Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:31-34 NKJV

Like so many in our community today, I have had family, friends, colleagues and associates who lost their lives or the lives of loved ones to this COVID-19 pandemic. Many more have been stricken or have known others who have been afflicted with the symptoms of this disease.  This virus has been responsible for more widespread and rapid heartache than anything we have ever experienced in our lives. I would daresay that there are not many of us who have experienced anything like what we are living through.

I liken it to a prize fight where you get rocked by a massive punch. But before you’re able to recover, you get hit with a gut shot that takes your breath away. Before you get knocked out, you take a knee in order to shake the cobwebs out of your head. Well, I have felt those hits. I have been rocked and had to take a knee.

An interesting thing happened while I took that knee; I got on both knees and began praying. I began thinking about what’s really important. I began thinking about the things that really matter in life.

Most of us know, or at least know of, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20: 3-17):

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
  2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
  3. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
  4. Honor thy father and thy mother
  5. Thou shalt not kill
  6. Thou shalt not commit adultery
  7. Thou shalt not steal
  8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
  9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods

Jesus was asked which of these Commandments was the greatest. Jesus responds and says; “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV).

What I realized while I was on my knees is that my family, my friends, my colleagues, my associates, even my enemies and my opponents are important to me. I love the Lord, make no mistake about that, but loving and then sharing my time with the people God has placed in my life is what the Lord asks of me, and what He asks of you also. When we do, we automatically fulfill all the other commandments. Everything hangs on our love of one another.

So, I put a challenge to myself to be as far reaching as I can be while I am quarantined, self-isolated and practicing social distancing. I am challenging myself to do what is really important, to love my neighbor as I love myself. That’s how we get up when we get rocked! Love of family, friends, colleagues, associates, and even our enemies. That’s what God expects of us.

COVID 19 has rocked us and we have taken a knee, but we will get up! Despite our isolation, love still goes from heart-to-heart and breast-to-breast. Love is what keeps us connected, so let us love one another. I want you to know that I love you, that I am praying for you, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it!

God Bless you!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator/host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Monday’s 8:00 – 10:00 PM (626-226-1448), author of Matters of Faith: The Book.

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