LOVE ALL NEIGHBORS AS YOURSELF
By LORETTA FULTON
Some Christians believe that the best way to love people who aren’t Christians is to lead them to Jesus, but a speaker at Monday’s ACU Summit sees it differently.
“The whole truth is we must love everyone as we love ourselves,” Rob Sellers said in an early sessions titled “Love Your (Non-Christian) Neighbor as Yourself: Interfaith Relations and the Second Great Commandment.”
The “everyone” Sellers referred to includes literally everyone, Christians, people of other faiths and people with no faith tradition.
Sellers brought plenty of credentials to his talk, which was one of dozens scheduled at Summit, which runs through noon Wedneday. For a full schedule, go to http://www.acu.edu/summit
Sellers is a retired religion professor at Hardin-Simmons University. He also is chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, which will meet Nov. 1-7 in Toronto. Sellers and his wife were missionaries to Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, for 25 years. His desire to be faithful to his Christian faith led him to love the people in Indonesia, he said.
Sellers outlined five reasons why Christians must love all their neighbors as themselves.
- The future of peace depends in it. It is crucial, he said, as God’s children, “to have compassion for these people and not just tolerance.”
- All major religions teach a version of the Golden Rule
- Because Jesus acted that way. Some years back, it became a trend to wear a bracelet with the letters, WWJD, or What Would Jesus Do. That usually was in reference to a particular circumstance, Sellers said. But it might be a good question to ask when considering talking to people of other faiths. Just look in the Bible to see the answer, Sellers suggested. Look at how Jesus regarded the Gentiles and the Samaritans. Jesus consider people of other religions as neighbors.
- Because when we do, our lives and faith become much richer.
- When we love our non-Christian neighbors, we more directly experience the God of love.
A man in the audience said he is studying to be a preacher. He asked Sellers how best to teach those principles to people in a church. Sellers suggested bringing in guest speakers from other faiths, especially a speaker and his or her family. That way, church members can see that they share much with people of another faith.
“Help people see the humanity of people who are different,” Sellers suggested.