What the World Needs Now -The Filter of Love – Steve Testerman


Baby Boomers have seen a lot of things; we remember JFK, Vietnam war protests and riots, Watergate and 9/11.  However, I fear that many Americans today are either too young to fully appreciate the impact that these kind of events have had on the world today or perhaps they have simply failed to learn from history.

Bad things CAN happen here and now.

Today America is in distress.  We are experiencing the type of divisiveness that marked the late-60’s but in a uniquely 21st Century style.

Technology in the form of Cable TV with hundreds of channels and the Internet allows Americans to adopt a kind of Tribal mentality where it is “us” versus “them”.  “Them” can be anyone who is a different – color, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, social status or political persuasion.  We can through Facebook, Twitter, Cable News and other media, find people across the country and across the world who share our very specific profile of values, beliefs and attitudes.  

On the surface, this sounds like a good thing.  We can have contact and interaction with like-minded folks and share thoughts.  In practice, the sharing of thoughts can often be a simple reinforcement of what we already believe and new ideas are met with our innate instinct to label the idea and the messenger as a threat and to associate it with another “Tribe” who is against “us”.  When attacked we must fight back; some say make payback 10-fold.  

The sad part is that these days your Tribe is not necessarily your neighbors or your friends or your family.  We can be a house divided and we know what happens when a house is divided.  Yes, even families are being split apart by ideology.  We cannot have a conversation with people close to us  without it degenerating into an argument – and in 2018 it will likely be about Politics.

Does Religion have any answers for our very modern problems?

I believe that the answer is so elegantly simple that it is the embodiment of everything that was taught by Jesus.  We know the saying that “Love conquers all” and we know what Jesus told the young man who asked him “what is the greatest commandment”.

Here it is, in case you have forgotten it:

Love God and Love your Neighbor.  These are the greatest Commandments.  Jesus was saying, if you can’t remember anything else, remember this and it will guide you.  Virtually every religion has a variation of this “Golden Rule”.

I strongly believe that Christians must read the Bible and listen to Sermons with the “Filter of Love”.  But more than that, I believe that what we read in the news and what we watch on TV, how we interact with others (members of our Tribe or not) should be filtered with Love.  Indeed, how we live our lives should be based on this simple concept – LOVE!

So how does Love toward God look like?  In a sentence it would be similar to a Love that we should feel for our parents; with respect, obedience and thankfulness.  More on this important idea later.

Love for our Neighbor is in many ways the harder part – Jesus reminded us that our Love should not be reserved just for the “Lovable”, but it extends even to our enemies.

This means members of the other Tribe!  The implications of such a thing are startling – even World changing!  I think that was the plan!

This means we should Love: African Americans, Asians, Caucasians, Democrats, LGBTs, Mexicans, Muslims, Norwegians, Jews, Republicans equally.

It also means we should Love: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi, to name a few of our Government leaders.

And here is a hard one to understand: Love the thief, Love the murderer, Love the pedophile!

Remember that in the eyes of God; we all sin.  My sin, your sin, your neighbors sin, the murderers sin are all the same in His eyes and all are unacceptable to Him – we all fall short.  Each of us needs forgiveness and we receive it from God if we ask for it in the name of the Sacrifice He made for us.

I said this was the harder part, at least to me, and I confess that my Love often falls short for some of these people, but the idea is God’s and it is sound.  Love for your neighbor means to treat them like you would like to be treated in the same circumstances; with forgiveness.  As Jesus forgave the men who nailed him to a cross, we are charged with forgiving our neighbor who has wronged us or others and to treat them as a human.  We must remember that it is God who will judge and not us!

Frankly, there shouldn’t be anything new or startling in these ideas, but I recommend that we should all try to resolve to filter what we hear, what we do, how we interact, how we view the “other Tribe”, our politicians and the national debates about so many issues with the “Filter of Love.”

Are we respecting each others humanity and treating others as we would like to be treated?  Do we want to disenfranchise and deny rights to members of the other Tribe?

This is why God’s plan is so wonderful and how wonderful it is to have such a clear path toward pleasing Him.  Try it today in your thoughts, actions and communications with your friends and family and your Tribe.  And more importantly apply to Filter of Love to the Other Tribe!

Steve Testerman for Baby Boomers Guide

January 19, 2018 


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