(Orange, Texas)

Local News

April 20, 2013

Love your neighbor

ORANGE — I wonder if we could just skip one month of the year.  If we could, I would like to skip April.  Twenty nine years ago, my love for April changed.  It was Friday April 13, 1984.  I boarded a flight from Atlanta, Georgia where I was attending seminary at Emory University.  I was flying home to see my Dad, who had suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital.  Between the time my flight left and landed in Houston, my Dad suffered a fatal heart attack.  I landed expecting to go to the hospital and hug his neck. Instead I was greeted by a distant relative, who broke the news.  Easter was a week away!  

In my days of grief I asked myself “how will I ever celebrate Easter again?”  But I felt closer to God in those days of pain than I could ever expect.  God’s love carried me through that time and I grew stronger in my faith.

I watched in horror in 1993 when a militant sect of “Branch Davidians” followed their leader to their deaths.  In April 1995, one of our own citizens took out his rage leaving many innocent children and adults killed in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.   In 2001, I made a trip to go to the National Memorial in Oklahoma City; my tears flowed as I went through the exhibit.  The following Tuesday was September 11, 2001 and we all remember what happened that day.  Now we have three dead and hundreds harmed physically and mentally by the terror in the streets of Boston.  

As I write, our U.S. Senate is struggling to get passed a bill that would require more extensive background checks for purchases of firearms.  I am not a parent, but I have a wife that works in the public schools and I surely want to know and feel that she is working in a safe environment.  No matter our government’s feeble attempts to legislate, we need to start at a more basic level.  We need to rekindle in the hearts and minds of our people, young and old an appreciation for the sanctity of life, no matter your race or ethnicity, the salary you earn or do not earn, or our political stance, it is more than that.  We are talking about the life God gave us, to live in his image.  

Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”  The expected answer was probably one of the 10.  Listen to his answer: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and the second one is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:35-40   

That is a wise answer and if we truly lived it our lives would be changed.   


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