“Loving my neighbor as myself” is such a simple and ubiquitous commandment. Because of that, it’s hard for me to really stay connected with it. When I’ve heard something so many times, it starts to sound like a nursery rhyme. Our times are also so different than Jesus’ times: He didn’t talk to us about community gardens, 5k races, or credit card debt. So why do we do these things in His name?
Jesus calls us to “Love our neighbors, as much as we love ourselves.” It’s an incredibly tall order, so we’ve fallen…a lot. Following Jesus can be hard, and loving others sometimes seems impossible. That’s when grace and compassion step in to help me open up to God’s love. Jesus didn’t use the word ‘compassion’ as a commandment, but showing compassion is one of the ways that I train myself to follow the Great Commandment. I’m learning to love my neighbors a little bit at a time…so that I can learn to love them more. Just like training for a 5k race!
Did you see that pivot? So glad I watched those debates!
That’s why I’m running the Lupus Loop Sunday with an amazing 47+ other members of Circle of Hope. Regardless of the amount of money raised, this is a personal discipline to strengthen my compassion muscles. You are invited to flex your compassion too! Building compassion starts with focusing on the suffering of others, and finding commonalities with them. Start by visiting the Lupus Loop website; learn more about the disease and how it affects people. Find commonalities to your own life. Maybe you could choose to help ease the suffering of those affected by joining the race, or by donating. Find commonalities, even if it’s just the desire to lead a life free of disease.
For me, that mean thinking about the way diseases like Lupus affect my loved ones. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. If you don’t think you’ve met anyone with Lupus, then you’ve definitely met someone with an autoimmune disease. One of my former coworkers had a daughter (a woman of color) who suffered from Sjogren’s. One day, her daughter woke up and suddenly couldn’t move because of joint swelling. It was sudden and terrifying, and when I think about that happening to me, I’m learning compassion. Most autoimmune disorders, including Lupus, have no cure.
Every time I run the Lupus Loop, it exercises my muscles, and I’m grateful for a body that is healthy. Every time I think about how my neighbor feels in their illness, I am exercising my compassion muscles, and getting a little closer to being able to follow that Great Commandment—loving my neighbor.
-Amanda Fury, writing