As I write this I am flying over the ocean, returning from an international ecumenical gathering in the north of Italy. People from across the world were there, including some from countries I had never met people from. Places like Myanmar. Places like Senegal. And places like Germany, Italy, U.S.A, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Iraq, Chile, Sweden, China, India, Lebanon, Korea, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Russia, Nepal, and so many more. I have met people who have left lasting, beautiful impressions on my heart. Every conversation cut across some sort of difference: culture, race, language, gender, and often enough all of them.
We understood something at the base of our conversations: we do not have to be the same. We do not have to always “conquer difference;” we need only to love each other in whatever shape we come.
Love is the greatest motivator. Love will sand our rough edges. It will change our hearts and minds and actions. It will make us into allies and accomplices, into brothers and sisters who love their brothers and sisters; it will allow us to encounter grace in a way that radically undermines the harmful assumptions that we have held that have violated each other.
It is not our differences that destroy us; it is our indifference to loving each other.
Be not indifferent. Be not the one who holds fear over the choice to love. Don't focus always on the largest issues and the political and ethical and theological and morally correct responses. See the person in every conflict. See that person and choose how you will love them. This is the correct response. If you can take this step of love, then let this step determine your path, the very direction you will go.
Choose love. I repeat: it is not our differences that destroy us; it is our indifference to loving each other.
Be not indifferent. Know and be known, as you are known by those you already so dearly love. Don’t let politics and positions on any issue distract you from the heart of the first commandments: not to be politically correct, but to love.