I applaud Texas Governor Rick Perry for calling on all 50 governors of the United States to gather in Houston on 6 August for a day of prayer "seeking God's guidance to deal with the problems facing our nation, to invite the presence, power and person of Christ to fill our nation and turn the hearts of millions to righteousness, peace and joy in Him, to see real change across our nation that only God can perform."
I hope they'll also pray that God will instill in each and every person, Christians especially, a sense of love for our neighbors; the brotherly love that Christ commanded us to have. The kind of love that "suffers long and is kind; that does not envy; does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love that never fails", like that Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians.
Paul wrote: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing." Too many of our politicians, leaders, and yes, even too many pastors, preachers, teachers and members of the Church are nothing more than sounding brass, clanging cymbals!
Love for one another is one of the most imminent things Christ taught, and commanded. Love was the basis of what God did when He sent His Son to live, and to die, for us. John 3:16 starts out with, "For God so LOVED the world". Without love, we would have no hope, no future, no chance. And God not only demonstrated love, and commanded us to love, He DEMANDS that we love. The Bible uses the term "neighbor" or "brother" in telling us whom to love, and those words are subsequently defined as "every man, woman and child" on the planet. He even went so far as to tell us that to love those who love us is not enough, because even the sinner does so. He explained that loving those who don't love us, or those who hate us, is the true love He wants us to have.
And loving someone means you don't try to harm them; you don't try to limit their rights and freedoms; you don't try to exclude them or deny them. In fact, loving them means you diligently work to make certain they have all the advantages, all the rights and freedoms that you, yourself, may not enjoy. Think of the way you love your child, your parent, your siblings: would you do anything to harm them? Deny them? Exclude them? NO!
Too often we Christians think in the terms of the worldly concept of "tough love"; that's not Christ's love. That concept is a way to justify not doing everything you can for the person you claim to love. It's a way to appease yourself by claiming you love them, but doing something that hurts them or excludes them. When you love someone with everything you have, you forgive them their mistakes, you forgive them when they do something that hurts you. And when we forgive the way Christ tells us to, we FORGET the offense we're forgiving. The idea that we can forgive and not forget is ludicrous. What if God practiced that type of forgiveness? What if God practiced the type of love that we profess to have? Who among us would have any hope?
I pray this day of prayer will bring about the goals that have been stated, but I also pray that it brings about a new sense of love and forgiveness and acceptance among the church. That we become the type of lovers that God is. That we become willing to love, forgive, forget and embrace our fellow man the way Christ loved, forgave, forgot and embraced us on the day He hung on that cross to deliver us and provide us the means to a relationship with the almighty God who created Heaven and Earth for OUR benefit and use.
I pray each and every person in this world will not only experience this type of love, but will practice it. If that happened, all wars would cease, all strife would end and joy would finally be a global experience.