We must love each other to life

Published 11:56 pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012

By Maurice K. Mickles Sr.,

Pastor of Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church, Selma

I am sure many of you have heard of this tremendous travesty concerning the late Mr. Trayvon Martin in my native state of Florida. It is a glaring demonstration of the paramount truth: Satan wants to destroy us, and he simply has no regard as to how it is accomplished. Yes, we mourn the life of this high school student, however, we must not be so negligent as to forget that Trayvon is not the only individual who has died. Mr. Zimmerman, in a way, has died, and the worse reality is these are not the only casualties of this war.

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We should not be so shortsighted as to call this an issue of race, though it is a contributing factor. What can possess a man to end another man’s life regardless of his race, religion, or rank? This is an issue of hatred, and I am afraid to say that it is more of hatred of oneself than it is of his brother.

When I struggle to find the significance in my own personal existence I, in turn, devalue the significance of humanity around me, and because of this ignorance to human significance, I embrace behaviors that are harmful to myself and my fellow man. Imagine the burden Mr. Zimmerman will carry until the day of his own demise knowing that he took a 17-year-old’s life into his own hands and deemed it unworthy of another day. Unquestionably, it is the breeding of psychosis.

The late Mr. Martin’s unfortunate murder called us nationally to consider this, but right here in our beloved Selma, to hear of someone being murdered is become too commonplace. I’m not writing this article with a political or philosophical end in mind. I am neither and will leave it to those who major in that field. However, I am a pastor with a heart for the issues confronting the people that live where I live, and I am, now more than ever, thoroughly convinced our only hope for the restoration and revitalization of our communities, both locally and nationally, lies in the hands of the Lord.

I don’t think this young man’s death being brought to light during the season of Lent is by mere coincidence. Often time, we can become so common with God that we forget the luxury of our relationship with Him was extremely costly.

Jesus, on the cross of Calvary, stood toe-to-toe with all of the hatred hell could muster and won through the power of love.

His keen awareness of human significance at its deepest levels, the creative genius with which humanity was formed, stirred within Him the constitution of character to pray for those who were preying on Him, to bless those who were cursing Him, and to make provisions for those who could no longer provide for Him. That is the cure, my friends — a river of love that cannot be constricted by our own personal bias.

In the vernacular of our Christ, the people who love us are not existentially the ones who need our love the most. The one who has no love to give us is the one who needs to be drowned in the currents of agape.

In Koine Greek, the word agape was rarely ever used, but when it was used, it denoted showing special kindness to strangers and the undeserving. When the New Testament began to employ it, the term agape was designated to express volitional, self-sacrificial love that can only be naturally expressed by God, and when we experience the new birth through the finish work of Christ, we are empowered by the Spirit of God to show that God-kind of love. The very fact they do not deserve our love is the very reason that we should give it.

In conclusion, I am challenging you today, Selma, to make the conscious decision to love unreservedly. “The way we know we’ve been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn’t love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don’t go together.” (1 John 3:14-15, MSG)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., admonished us, “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” Long gone are the days of loving people to death. I love you to life.