“Do not love the world.”
How disturbing is THAT? I know what they are getting at, being the good preacher’s daughter that I am…I’m sure it’s a reference to the passage in Romans that says to be of the world but not in the world. But do not LOVE the world?
What about “love your neighbor as yourself?” Or one of my favorites from friends that lived in the same little conservative town where I grew up: “hate the sin but not the sinner?” In my mind, “Do not love the world,” is equivalent to “Hate those that are not just like me,” and those of you that know me should know how well that idea would sit.
Our world is a miraculous, marvelous, terrifying, beautiful, horrible, interesting place and if we do not love it, embrace it, include all the people on the earth in it…then we do not deserve it. For the more fundamental Christians among us, how can you follow Christ’s missive to “go make of all disciples” unless you love them first? If you don’t love them, then who cares if they go to Heaven or Hell? For those in helping professions, how do you help someone if you don’t first love them…not love as in Barry White, chocolates, hearts, and flowers but love as in care for as a fellow human being? In my world, you can’t help if you can’t love.
If “Do not love the world,” means keep your eyes/focus/mind/heart on your concept of a reward after death, a Heaven or Nirvana or whatever your tradition recognizes, then I feel sad for you. The God that I believe in put us on the earth and made the earth for us to enjoy, not to shun and seclude from, keeping only to other like-minded believers. The God that I believe in is represented in every tree, every plant, every face of every person that comes into and out of my life. Why would I not love the world? God made the world.
So I say love the world. Love the people in the world. It’s a lot harder to destroy or wage war against your fellow humans when you love them, wouldn’t you say?