Monday, Feb 3, 2020. How do we live together? How do we organize or social environment? What is governing our relationships, our actions, the way we behave with respect to each other? What is the guiding principle of our interaction? What is the framework in which it takes place?
The societies of this world have their own particular framework. When you look around, you find a lot of diversity in this world. There are so many different systems in the far east. If you compare Japan with China, with Taiwan, with Singapore, with Korea. There is the middle east with its very special historical path. There is Africa, with a strong diversity of countries, from the Mediterranean Islamic states to the sub-Saharan regions and South-Africa. Look into the Americas, with the Spanish speaking countries and the United States. There is Europe with its 30+ States and European Union.
The role of Law, Freedom, Economy, Love …
What are the important ingredients of our social framework? We could name very different topics here. As a society as well as individuals, we need law and order in the first place, to be able to live together in peace. When you are in a civil war, or when the chaos of self-justice and violence is governing daily life, there is no way to a really prosperous society, and there is no way to a really sustainable development for families and individuals.
What is the role of freedom? Personal freedom is an important ingredient. Is it over-estimated in its importance? Humans have lived in states without freedom in so many parts of history. Today freedom is a difficult topic in many states. Freedom of religion is not really there in important regions of this world today.
What is the role of the economy of a society. We all need to eat and we need clothing and shelter. We all want to be a part of the economic development of the world, want to have access to medical care, to technology, to transport. We all want to live well and use the inventions of the modern era. The economic system we live in is important. And the laws of our environment, including the protection of workers, the protection of property, the protection of ideas, are major themes and topics of a modern society.
What is the role of love, appreciation and respect in social interaction. Today, major topics of the public discussion include gay marriage and gender issues. We fight for the equal relationship of men and women, equality of all sexes, and equality of women in the working environment. This takes place in a social framework where work and leisure is important, where we have a sophisticated industry of entertainment. The public setup for the job market in Germany, for example, allows maternity leave for women and parental leave of month to even years for mothers or fathers, keeping their job save during this time.
Jesus on Love …
Is love a topic which is talking about the relationship of a man and women only, more general between two partners? Is it a topic which is talking about the relationship between a mother and a child, or parents and an infant only?
There are important sermons of Jesus on the role of love for our life. More general, love is an important topic of both the Old and New Testament. Love is a major topic, since God is said to be love. He is said to consist of love, to be love himself. That is one of the reasons why God is holy, since his love is pure love of a kind which is beyond what we usually know and experience.
When you get into contact with God, his love will change your life. That is an important message which the apostles, and Jesus himself, is communicating. When you get to know God, you cannot stay what you have been before. He is different. He is just. He is honest. He is reliable. And he loves you and me and every single human on the planet. He wants us. He values us highly. He cares for us.
Jesus is addressing this topic of love in his sermon on the mount, which we find in different forms in the New Testament. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus word about “love your enemy” is expressed in the following form:
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6, 27-28)
With these words, Jesus is touching the very heart of our social framework. He is touching the very heart of our personal motivation. He is addressing our feelings, our will, our thoughts. He is changing the relationship of each and everyone.
To love my enemy is not easy. It is not something I could just hear and do immediately. It is not something which would come quickly. It is a path, a direction, a major agenda for my life. It is an idea, which might be far from my heart and my mind. Yet, if I start to listen, if I start to change myself …. if I follow Jesus in this important basic topic, I will realize that he changes my whole life, the very framework of my existence. Jesus wants me to play a different game - not the game of superiority and fight, but the game of love and truth and mercy. This is a fantastic path, challenging and majestic at the same time … (Roland Potthast)
This is part of the trilogy project “Faith of a Scientist”.