While visiting the library a few days ago I noticed a very small book being displayed, JUDAISM’S 10 BEST IDEAS”, and I checked it out.
Idea #1 was about joy and I enjoyed thinking about the concept and truth the author, Arthur Green, wrote about but it’s idea #2 that I’m still thinking about this morning, Creation in GOD’s image. I know the scripture “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev.19:18) but in these few pages so many ideas present themselves that made me pause to think about how I love those in the past that have hurt me.
Page 11 of this little book addresses something I myself have struggled with. “How can I be commanded to love someone? There are, after all, some particularly unlovable human beings in this world. Certainly there are some people who do some awfully unlovable things. Am I really transgressing all of Torah if I fail to love them? Suppose my neighbors act toward me in some vile and hateful way? Must I be expected to love them? Ben Azzai (a rabbi) offers another answer: No, love is not required as the most basic rule of Torah. But remember that they are human beings, created in the image of God. Treat them that way, even if you can’t love them. Human decency should not depend on our ability to muster a feeling of love for the other”.
However, as believers, we know that Jesus has commanded us to love one another (John 13:34, 15:12). My struggle.
From this paragraph the writer goes on to talk about forbidden images and idolatry, how we are made in the image of GOD, bringing us back that “Our task is to see that there is more divine image in this world, not less.
With so many issues going on in our world, culture, today our faith demands that whatever your or my position is, that we remain rooted in this truth, we can choose to show love. We can value each other and be committed to treating each other with respect and dignity regardless of the other persons actions.
I look forward to reading the rest of this little book.