I was talking with a friend the other day who told me that she was spiritual but not religious and that she felt that it was enough to be nice. It got me thinking on a number of fronts.
First, what is ‘enough’? A deacon once told me that he never speculates on who goes to heaven or not because “that’s a management decision and I’m in sales”. Lots of wisdom there. So no judgment here but I will write about what we are called to do.
Certainly being nice or loving others is something we are all called to do. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and called to love all people as neighbors. And we are called to do more.
If you believe the Bible is the source of truth, then you can read what Jesus said when he was asked “which commandment … is the greatest?”. And Jesus answered: “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
When we love someone with our whole heart and soul, what does that look like? We spend time with them. We talk with them. We learn more about them. We thank them. We apologize to them when we do wrong. We ask them for help when we need help. And in God’s case, in addition to all of these things, we worship Him.
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”, aren’t we called to do that in addition to loving each other?
Maybe you don’t accept the Bible and Jesus’ words as Gospel truth. In that case, I can only share my own experience with you. I am a nicer person due to prayer and my relationship with God. I meditate on His words to help with decisions. I review my day and apologize for the wrongs that I have done and celebrate with Him when I do good. I (very slowly!) grow to be a better person through praying to God about my successes and failures. I am more thankful after actually spending time in thanksgiving. I have an opportunity to think of those around me as I pray for their needs. I am far from perfect but I believe I am stumbling along the path to which I’ve been called.
If you don’t pray today, I encourage you to start. A great beginning template for prayer can be found here: