“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

-Matthew 22:36-40/h4>

LOVING THY NEIGHBOR

My neighbor, Lynn, lives out the primal Christian attitude of “Love thy God and Love thy neighbor” every day and with every thought. She was a great sales person in previous life, before taking on the immensely important duty of raising two wonderful young men. In her previous life as a sales person, she was successful because she respected and cared for her customers. She never sold products based on achieving sales goals, but sold products that served the customer’s needs. Her sons, who have in turn become wonderful examples of how to live life and are successful are a mirror of both their parents.

Lynn can be frank, but never unkind. When she greets you, it is always with a hug and a welcoming comment. When neighbors are struggling she invites them to dinner to enjoy a period of neighborly comradery. Lynn’s life arrow is all pointed straight and true. But her most redeeming characteristic is her belief in “loving her neighbor.” Like many of the women in my neighborhood, caring comes first, agenda comes second.

Recently, I was watching the Kavanaugh hearings and became extraordinarily dismayed at the politics of our country. A woman has come forward to accuse a man of abuse. Instead of a hearing of interest in finding the truth, I watched a hearing of bickering and acrimony. For our country, perhaps one of its worst moments. With this extraordinarily sensitive subject, we witnessed politics of hate and not the sensitivity and compassion that it deserved. I wondered what if Lynn and the other fine women in my community had served as the seekers of truth in this hearing. What if Lynn or Linda or Cindy or Jonelle or Nancy or Mari or Collen or LeeAnn or Darlene or Patty or my wife had served as those looking for the truth?  The outcome and spectacle would have been very different. What Lynn and the other women in my community have in their hearts is a love for all humankind. Sure, they are all smart and sure they are all polished, but they love humankind first.

I think about  the men in my neighborhood who served in the military protect the right of “Due process” for all the citizens of our great country. Like Lynn they served for their neighbors. A life purpose of trying to help humankind.

On this day, I wondered, “What if Lynn was a senator or even president? How much different the hearings would have been.” In fact, what if most of my neighbors had been president or a senator.

As a country we need more people with an attitude of “loving their neighbor.” Gone would be the politics of name calling, racial slurs against all races and gender, spoken by all races and genders. Gone would be a sense of self-importance, and replaced by a patriotic attitude of respect for the man and women who created the oldest form of democracy that exists in the world. The left would hear first and talk second. The right would do the same. Gone would be the pre-recorded rebuttals of unhearing politicians.

On a quiet afternoon on her wonderful porch, Lynn politely reminded me to avoid negativity in my thinking. Not in an accusatory way, but with a gentle conviction. A way that made me feel loved and that catapulted me to thinking I could do better. I know many fine women and men who do the same thing. I only wish that Lynn, Connie, Mike, Nancy, Steve, Emmitt, Scott, Cindy, Geoff, Bern, Roger, Anne, Connie, Betsy, Jonelle, Jeff, Penny, Chrissi, Carolyn, Bill, Dorothy, Robert, James, Kenny, Ken, Susan, Sue and so many others served and protected this great country of liberty.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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