Love your neighbor Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 February 2017
By Chaplain (Capt.) Tiann Morgner
Special to GUIDON

Valentine’s Day is  so much more than greeting cards and chocolates shared between significant others, or at least it can be.

 While historically Valentine’s Day is a day where we recognize love between significant others, more recently that love has been expanded to a greater meaning: children give valentines to their classmates, co-workers may even share chocolates with each other. Just as much as the meaning has expanded, it is still a time when those who are single, whether it is a choice or not, tend to feel left out.
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Morgner

 There has been a movement over the past several years for single people in our country to “protest” Valentine’s Day. I am not sure if that is necessary. What if we intentionally expanded our understanding of Valentine’s Day? When this holiday of love is restricted to those with romantic relationships we lose the potential to spread love.

 In the Christian scriptures, Jesus tells us that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). He does not specify which neighbor, or the specifics of who we should love, it is simply that we are to show the same love  we show ourselves to those who we encounter.

 Your neighbor isn’t necessarily someone who thinks like you, looks like you, believes what you believe or acts the way you think people should act. Your neighbor is simply the people you encounter in this world. Your neighbor is your closest friend just as much as it is the person you disagree with or don’t understand. Regardless of your faith tradition, I think we could all benefit from loving a little more in this world, and it starts with our neighbor.  

 Maybe this year we can reclaim Valentine’s Day as a time when we recognize the need for love in the world. Maybe we take the time to  show love and kindness toward others, not just the ones who are easy  to love, but those who may challenge you as well.

 When we choose to love the one who is different, we may shorten the distance that hatred and indifference causes, even if it is just for a brief moment.

 (Editor’s note: Morgner is the 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment chaplain.)