The religion of Jesus says to the disinherited: “Love your enemy. Take the initiative in seeking ways in which you can have the experience of a common sharing of mutual worth and value. It may be hazardous, but you must do it” (Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited, 1996).
In a world where self-interest prevails and a world where we are taught from a very young age to “look out for yourself” and “look after yourself, before helping others” how do we live into these words from Thurman?
The kind of love Jesus is talking about, that Thurman quotes, is a deep, radical, and inclusive love that goes beyond the superficial and compels us to listen to the voice of the other, and to see the common humanity in all people. In so doing we begin to recognize and see the face of Jesus in everyone we meet, and they in turn, see the face of Jesus in us. This is something we must do, if we wish to live in a world of peace, harmony and where people of all generations are valued and appreciated for who they are as people, and not based on them believing the “right kind of religion” or based on who they love or how they vote.
As Desomond Tutu and others have said before in these or similar words, “I am not free until everyone is free.”
When salvation is limited to one person, or group of people, this runs against an understanding of God's love for all of humanity and the created order. When we approach “the other,” from a place of love, we are humbled and are better able to learn more about ourselves, our humanity, and the nature of God through the experiences of others.