It is easy for us to love others by vague principle, and then fail when faced with specific, concrete opportunities. We may offer money and prayers to reach people overseas with the gospel, but keep our distance from those in our own community whose race or ethnic background differs from ours. We’re more comfortable paying or praying for people far away than reaching out to those nearby. Maybe we feel very warm toward the human race in general, but quickly turn off family members or neighbors whose habits annoy us. We are all too often “long-distance lovers” who don’t look so loving when put to the test. Such distantness undermines our mission in life. Guilt does not make us more loving. Grace, however, can. When God’s forgiving love touches us and makes us whole, we are set free to love others.
This message is adapted from “Long Distance Lovers?” written by Arthur Simon in the November 1993 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.