When AIDS is an uncomfortable and untouchable subject, the disease spreads. But when we bring it to the fore, when we aren’t afraid to confront it, information spreads. Compassion spreads. The cure spreads. Please, help me spread the cure.
It comes down to a simple equation, really. If you give love out, you get love back. If you take nothing else from the stories I’ve told here, please take that lesson to heart. It is the only thing that matters. It is why we need a global movement for love, and not just when it comes to AIDS. We need to love the poor, we need to love the sick, and we need to love those who we perceive as different. If love guides our actions, we can end AIDS. If love drives our actions, we can build a better world.
LOVE IS THE CURE ON LIFE, LOSS, AND THE END OF AIDS
Beyond Judgement to Christian Love
By Dawn-Marie Cornett
December 21, 2012 – Practice, Practice, Practice
Recently I read an article in The Washington Post about the link between one’s spiritual activity and surviving AIDS, written by Christian Science practitioner Tony Lobl (see “World AIDS Day: ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ ” November 30, 2012). In it, Lobl quotes rocker and AIDS activist Elton John, as saying he wants people to “be more compassionate to one another, more Christian towards one another, not so hateful to one another.”
The idea that we should be “more Christian” stood out to me. At first it was a sensitivity thing. I get squeamish if I feel like someone is saying only Christians are kind and charitable, since nearly every world religion has compassion, love, and service built into its structure and practice. But then I started to really think about the end of Elton John’s comment: “not so hateful to one another.” It struck me that in order to accomplish this, we’d have to be loving in a unique way—in never judging anyone wrongly.
It’s been my experience that judgmentalism is often based on one’s own education, social norms, or religious rules. Modern Christianity comes with a slew of do’s and don’ts. But did Christ Jesus set up a long list of rules for us to follow? I don’t think so.
After all, when asked what was the most important rule, or commandment, of all, he answered clearly and without hesitation, giving just two main rules for living: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40, English Standard Version). Wow, so loving God with total devotion and loving each other sets up the structure for successful life practice. Where does that leave judgment?
Deep love, the kind that is pure, forgiving, gracious, kind, merciful, divine, makes it impossible to judge another with anger, resentment, or a high and mighty attitude. The kind of love Christ Jesus preached, if truly practiced, would melt our hearts and allow us to see our brothers and sisters as Christ-like, who may need our aid, but who definitely do not need our unkind and unloving criticism.
In Jesus’ day, these ideas about love were completely new and unique to him. Today, the world teems with religious rebels looking to show more love than judgment. So, while I’m sure Christians today cannot claim complete ownership to the practice of loving our neighbor, we had better be sure we are doing it really, really well. We need to be certain our lives boldly show our love for God and our love for all humanity. Then we can truly judge each other rightly, by finding we are friends, brothers, sisters, “joint-heirs with Christ” ( Romans 8:17).
—Dawn-Marie Cornett, Framingham, MAssachusetts, US