In a society where our motto is “In God We Trust”, love for others should be relatively easy. Yet we all know that nothing could be further from the truth. We have a tough time with this one. Sometimes it’s relatively easy to love “certain people” but tough to love those “other people.” If we’re going to make a difference in our community, we have to be willing to work with everyone. Hatred toward one group or another would never allow a community to advance and improve itself and the lives of its citizens. We have to be willing to “love one another” as we work toward a common goal.
I’m reminded of our country during the Civil War when one considers the issue of love for others. Our own country was ripped apart at the seams. Brother against brother, family against family, countryman against countryman. Over 620,000 Americans were killed, more than in any other conflict our nation has ever been in. Yet as the conflict was winding down, our government and its people were faced with the undaunting task of rebuilding the country and re-forging the ties of love and friendship. Abraham Lincoln in his Second Inaugural Address in 1865 realized this difficulty and offered the following conciliatory remarks in his final paragraph.
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the workwe are in; to bind up the nations wounds; take care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and for his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
Despite all the bloodshed and the hatred, Lincoln knew the only way to rebuild and move forward, was to accept the common responsibility for the problems of the day (“with malice toward none”) and work together to improve from this time forward (“with charity for all”). These words and thoughts still ring true today.
The Take Home Message
Love for others will lead to an acceptance of our common goals and purpose, our common humanity. Love for others is the only way to effectively improve our community and ultimately ourselves.