Love your enemy. Yeah, right. Love those who hurt you. Please. My first-aid remedy for anything that hurts is anger complete with an elaborate plan for getting even. At midlife I actually had the courage to act on a few of the plans I make. In my younger days of course (not too long ago, really), I was Solomonic when it comes to resolving issues and conflicts. I was always cool. It made my father very proud. May he rest in peace. But I also developed toxic goiter because of it. I miss those days.
Love your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. The last phrase had always been the more challenging one for me not because it is more difficult to show love to neighbor than to God but because it can easily be verified.
The faith of our Muslim brothers and sisters advocates Peace. For Christians of course, it is Love. God is Love (1 John 4:8) and Peace has become Jesus Christ’s official greeting at post-resurrection. Two thousand years later the mess the world is in to is not ending any sooner because both Christians and Muslims are failing miserably to produce the fruits of their faiths.
Here’s how I remind ourselves how important love is:
“If I have (put everything good about you here) but do not have love I have/am nothing.”
“Love is (put everything good about your friend here)”.
This is based on Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 13: 1-7).