Worldwide, winds of intolerance are blowing strongly, fanned by such things as racial prejudice, religious extremism and the global socio-economic pandemic of Covid-19. Today, Pastor Chris teaches us a formula to combat the darkness in the world: Love, Compassion and Tolerance.
Love Your Neighbor As Yourself is the second great commandment of Jesus. It immediately follows His commandment of loving God with all your heart, mind and soul. Following this commandment is the key Jesus Christ gave us for loving others as God loves us. In the journey that is life, we will encounter many different types of individuals in our path. Pastor Chris Oyakhilome says: “In our journey of faith, there’ll always be those who’ll test us; everyone who relates with you is placed there by God for your benefit; whether they’re helping you or they’re against you doesn’t make any difference. It doesn’t stop God’s plan of promoting you. If they’re kind, loving, and helpful to you, appreciate them and praise God for them; if they’re otherwise, love them nonetheless.”
Once we understand our capacity for love, our hearts know no bounds. We can love our greatest enemy, the one who seeks to tear us down, the one who despises. Romans 5:5 says “the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Although this might be challenging, the way we treat our enemies is one of the major attributes of a strong Christian value system.
Pastor Chris teaches us that not every soul will support us, it is however still our responsibility to show not only restraint, but also compassion, for the individual does not see his actions from an enlightened state of mind. People can show great cruelty. Pastor Chris goes on to say, that even in times where you feel people” dislike you, persecute you, and despise you” it is “permitted to respond to them in love.” The actions or attitude of such people should never provoke you to act contrary to your true nature, which is love. God is love, and anyone who loves is of God, and knows God.
Another important teaching in loving our neighbor as ourselves is that we realize that we should not wait for when we feel loved before we start to love others. We do not have to wait until we feel that we have a surplus of self-love before we give it away to our neighbors. The commandment made it perfectly clear: love your neighbor exactly as you love yourself. No more and no less.
During his ministry, Jesus Christ was surrounded by intolerance. He stood out as vastly different. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them,” said his opposers. (Luke 15:2) Jesus was kind, patient, and tolerant because he came, not to judge people, but to heal them spiritually. Love was his primary motivation. (John 3:17; 13:34).
Love, the key to becoming more tolerant, opens our heart to others, despite their imperfections and idiosyncrasies. Says Colossians 3:13: “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another.”
“Above all things, have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8).