“Just to Sit Still Would Be a Sin”

Maryland Public Defender’s March for Justice

These are strange and trying times we are living in. We go from months of being isolated from the world to having the world marching outside our windows in our streets and throughout our cities and small towns, not sitting still but sitting in to stand up for justice. We have lost trust in the news, we have lost trust in some of the medical experts, and we have lost trust in each other. But the larger failing of the human race, the one that has led all of us to this moment is a greater loss–the loss of love, the fundamental loss of just loving each other, for love is the only thing that can win in this fight, and it has to be the kind of love that is the pure, unselfish, dying to self kind of love. We must imitate the greatest of all loves…

We must love the way that Jesus taught us to love. 

A couple weeks ago, someone told me that if I keep writing about God, I’m going to turn off my readers and lose subscribers. I pray that isn’t the case, but here’s the truth: Somebody has to say it. Somebody has to turn hearts back to God. Somebody has to remind everyone of Jesus’s greatest commandment, “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also must you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

Yes, it’s as simple as that. Whether you believe in God or not. Whether you profess any kind of faith or not. Whether you go to church or not. There is only thing we need to know and do to make this world a better place. Love one another.

We must love each person, each race, each religion, each and every human being that God has put on this earth from conception to natural death.

When I was in middle school, my best friend was a beautiful girl we’ll call Kendra. Kendra’s mother was a stunning black woman with the kind of looks that made everyone stop and appreciate her beauty. Kendra’s father was a white man. They were a middle class family who sent their daughter to a primarily middle class Catholic school. Kendra was not only beautiful, she was smart. She was funny. She had a wonderful personality. And I’m sure those qualities only grew stronger as she got older. Though inseparable in middle school, when high school came along, we went to different schools, and then I moved away. I remember very little about our friendship even though we were as close as sisters and often told people we were twins because we shared a birthday. Of course, we laughed along with those who laughed at us since Kendra was very tall, with long, thick, wavy hair, and obviously of mixed race while I was short, with straight, fine hair, and as white as snow.

I will never forget the night my dear friend cried herself to sleep on one of our sleepovers because the boy she liked at school told her he could never take a black girl to the school dance. It was my first experience with racism and is the one memory that sticks out above all of the things we did together. I can still picture her crying, still hear the pain in her voice, and still feel my own shock and disbelief. Why did her color matter? Why couldn’t she just be loved for the person she was? I didn’t understand at all.

“Just as I have loved you, so also must you love one another.”

To the woman who was bleeding, cast out, deemed unclean and unworthy: “Daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace” (Luke 8:48).

To the leper, a member of the most stigmatized group of people in the land who could not be touched or shown love in any way: “Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, ‘I do will it. Be made clean'” (Mark 1:40–45).

To the Samaritan woman, hated and defiled for nothing more than her ethnicity, addressing her and her afflicted people: “WHOEVER dinks the water I shall give will never thirst” (John 4:4–42).

To those who hung Him on the cross: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23: 34).

2020 The Crucifixion

“For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it” (Ephesians 2:14–16).

Jesus’s entire ministry was built on love and abolishing hatred, prejudice, and hostility. I pray that we can begin to see past color, avoid the disease of racism, overlook the stigma of where one lives or who his family is, and forgive the sins and transgressions of the past. That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “Just as I have loved you, so also must you love one another.” He wanted us to live and love like He did, and not just while He was on earth and not just for a short time and not just when we feel like it and not just when we feel good about ourselves, and not just when people are being nice to us. But all day, every day, for the rest of eternity.

And that was 2000 years ago! To borrow a phrase from the hit musical, Hairspray, how have we come so far and yet have so far to go?

I pray we ALL find it in our hearts to build love, abolish hatred, defy prejudice, and end hostility. In the words of Mama Maybelle, “‘Cause just to sit still would be a sin’.”

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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy,  Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).

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