"Balancing faith and lifestyle choices". Mr. Big is one quarter of a Poly-fi quad. His column will focus on his current struggles to find balance between his chosen lifestyle and the faith he was taught to believe. Join him while he journeys the path of enlightenment.
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Loving Your Neighbor
Author's Note: A friend that I met through my involvement with Polyamorous Percolations mentioned she had a great idea for my column. I told her if she would jot it down in about 500 to 1000 words that I’d be sure proper credit was given. Without further ado, I give you the lovely and talented Ms. Venus Magnolia Sunshine. ~ Mr. Big
The Pharisee asked Him) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” --Matthew 22:36-40
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. –Romans 13:9-10
As a Christian, the greatest thing I can do is to love my neighbor. As a Christian, the most difficult thing I may ever do is to love my neighbor. It seems like it should be such a simple thing. Really, how hard can it be to love my neighbor? Of course, I have to know who my neighbor is and what love is first. That’s the hard part. And what does this have to do with living a polyamorous life?
Since the question was first asked of Jesus some 2,000 years ago, the children of God have tried to limit the definition of neighbor. Most Christians don’t have a hard time defining what love is, but it seems near impossible for Christians to accept who God tells us is loveable. Who is our neighbor? Yankees and Rebels, Democrats and Republicans, Jews and Muslims—these opposing factions cringe at the thought of calling each other “neighbor.” We must choose whether our definition of neighbor will be narrow and include only those people who meet our standards or if our definition will be broad enough to see every interaction with every person we encounter as an opportunity to love and be loved. Over and over in the Bible God shows us which definition He wants us to choose. Over and over, the people that God loves are the very people that would be considered unlovable by the world’s standards. Does it really have to be so difficult to consider the people most unlike me to be my neighbor? Isn’t that what Jesus really commanded me to do?
Some say love is the energy that connects us all together and makes us willing to risk vulnerability. Others say that love is the unconditional acceptance of a person—including all their flaws and little annoyances. I especially like this definition. I think the “unconditional acceptance of another person” is exactly what we who call ourselves Christian have been commanded to do. For me, love is a truly miraculous gift from God—the most beautiful of all gifts.
Love has incredible power—it makes all things possible, can overcome every obstacle. The love within our hearts (or the lack thereof) can affect our mental, physical and spiritual health. Love can be extremely easy or extremely difficult. No matter what the circumstance, love requires work, at least some of the time.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” These are actually the words that the Apostle Paul used to describe love when he was writing to the church at Corinth (I Cor 13:4-7). What Paul said about Love can also be said of Polyamory: Polyamory is patient, polyamory is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Polyamory does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. For all of us, practicing polyamory is all about practicing love.
So, if I consider everyone I encounter to be a neighbor, I must strive to show them love. There is not one right way to show love. Many people have heard people who call themselves Christian say that loving more than one is sinful. “Traditional Christian doctrine” seems to indicate that the only God-sanctioned marriage is between one man and one woman. I don’t have the entire Bible memorized, but I’m certain that it does not say that a requirement for marriage is to be between one man and one woman. Countless Godly people who are celebrated in the Bible and in churches worldwide had more than one spouse. Although polyamory seems to be contradictory to “traditional Christian doctrine” I do not believe it to be contradictory to Christ’s teachings. Jesus says to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And that is what I endeavor to do every moment of everyday.
Mr. Big is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. He can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.
Venus Magnolia Sunshine in for Mr. Big; November 12, 2006
folks have read this article.