I have pretty eclectic musical tastes. I listen to country, rock, pop, Christian, gospel, jazz, reggae, etc. I love satellite radio and the ability to jump to a particular genre at any time.
The other day, I heard the Louis Armstrong classic - What a Wonderful World. One of the lines really caught me that day:
I see friends shaking hands
Sayin how do you do
They're really sayin
I love you
I love you. I tend to reserve that phrase for my wife, my kids, or other family members. It just isn't socially acceptable to say "I love you" to my friends at work, my college friends, or my neighbors. One of the things that I really enjoy about spending time with the high school youth in my church is that they do not hesitate to tell each other - or me - I love you. They will yell it across the parking lot as they start to leave, or in greeting when they first see each other. Not joking, or teasing, or sarcastic - a sincere I love you from one person to another - be it man to man, woman to woman, or man to woman. There is no discomfort in the phrase, no extra meaning, just an honest expression.
Love is discussed in the Bible in a lot of places and in a lot of different ways. I am focused today on a commandment that is repeated over and over.
As the Lord said to Moses, "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:18
As Jesus said when asked which commandment is the most important: "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is hear this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29-31 (see also, Matthew 22:37-40)
As Jesus told the disciples when sharing that his time on earth was coming to an end: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35
Finally, as stated by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans:
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
I think we would all be better if we found a way to express our love for our friends and neighbors. Maybe we are not at a place where it is comfortable to just say I Love You. Maybe it is something else - sharing time or smiling. Or maybe it is just a sincere "How do you do?"