Love is the action of unity

by Suzanne Sangi last modified 15 February 2019 04:32 PM
Love is the action of unity

Young women and men at GETI gathering prayer. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

13 February 2019

As a young person who finds myself passionately involved in human rights movements, I often wonder how people’s unity at a large scale is sustained and even strengthened. Most of us understand what binds our smaller and closer relationships, but our acts of unity among the larger society despite all our differences certainly goes beyond believing in the same cause and being well organised.

It is this: love for people who we know, and love for those we don’t know, yet deeply understand.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians on love, he wrote it in the context of a community in conflict, one that needed to come together and build the early church. I am always amazed at how descriptive he is. He gives the people an exhaustive list of what love is - or what love does.

Corinthians 13:4-8 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

One could think of this as an instruction manual on what Jesus proclaimed to be the greatest two commandments:

Matthew 22:36-40 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

My faith has always rested on these words. And I believe that to love at all is to love God.

Then what does it mean to love someone as ourselves?

This of course begins with loving our own self. And clearly, Paul’s words reveal that this nature of love is not self consuming. Instead it is being patient and kind with ourselves.

It does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. While we could hold debates on what constitutes right and wrong, the answer is quite simple: wrong is jealous, boastful, arrogant, rude, irritable and resentful.

As the whole world celebrates the day of love, let’s remember why we continue to stand together against rape and gender-based violence that often wear the garb of “passion” and “righteous fury”. Because when we unite against what’s wrong, we love. And that, I believe, is our greatest calling.


The impressions, hopes and ideas expressed in this blog are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.

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