Love has never been easy. Love real sacrificial love like Jesus taught goes against everything in human nature. We have a drive to compete, to be better, have more than, and to control others. All of us face these struggles in our hearts. The closer though, we get to love the more threatening we are to those who want no reminders that these things are wrong. That won't any reminders of their own guilt. To love is to bear one's own guilt, and the guilt if others reaching out constantly even to those who hate you.

As Jesus struggled in the garden, praying God would find another way. As he sweats and bled and prayed His closest friends could not wait with Him an hour but fell asleep. And in the middle of the night, those he worshiped and taught with daily came on Him like a thief and a criminal. Peter, forgot all he had been taught and wanted to fight and defend Jesus with violence. He cut off the ear if one of the servants to prevent Jesus arrest.  Jesus rebuked him and healed the ear.

After that Peter didn't know what to do, he was lost. The disciples scattered to the wind. He was ordered not to fight but he didn't want to die so he lied and tried to hide.

Even after the ascension, and the Holy Spirit, it didn't get easier. The disciples still didn't get it. They were still focused on competing, and controlling. Converts must do this or they aren't really Christian, no they can't do that it's too much, they should do this.

And then later it was a competition of which apostle you followed the patriarchs against other patriarchs. And long before Christ, it was which scriptures are more important and which are less so.

2000 years later it seems nothing has changed. Sometimes the fight gets more political, sometimes more violent, but the war wages on. So we say what is the point? Why keep fighting?

And the fight is the point. The darkness is a constant encroachment it doesn't sleep and it isn't dependent on any individual it is the strength of masses. It's our job to be a light in the darkness. Often not even aware of the good we accomplish. Love is the opposite of darkness. It does not focus on the masses, it does not seek control or destruction. It seeks only to reach out and live those in front of it. To see the individual and comfort their pain.

It's when we lose sight of that immediate Call to love, things get lost. There are only two sides. You can choose apathy it actively being part if the destruction machine. Or you can choose to be the light in the darkness. Water for the thirsty, clothing for the poor, food for the hungry, and comfort for the sorrowful. When we take on more than that we step beyond Gods guidance.

Anything we do from a place of self-reflection and love, we can have faith will bring only good. God is love.

And yes we do have an obligation to help hold each other accountable and responsible. But this isn't about controlling or one up-ing or hurting. It's about asking if they need help, asking if they realized the hurt this or that action or word may have caused. When they acknowledge yes they struggle, we can let them know we do too,  and we are in this together to pick each other up when we fall and not tear each other down.

If you see me do anything that hurts someone, please tell me, if you see how I can help let me know.  If you have had a similar problem let me know how you learned from it. And if you someone hurting I've missed point them out and help me care for them.

But when you go to look at someone else look first at yourself. Why do I want to say or do this? Why is this important to me? Do I display this same negative quality or have I struggled with it in the past? What harm came from it? How did changing heal that harm? And if it's not a struggle I've had, I should seek someone who has and sees if they share my concerns or can advise, or can speak with them themselves.

Anything we do not mean to care and comfort should be harshly examined in ourselves. But we should be slow to such examination of others.

There are only two circumstances Jesus really expresses anger and even comes close to violence.

When the money changed to treat the temple as a place to pursue profits and take advantage of the poor Jesus flips over tables and drives the animals out with whips. The second scenario is when He speaks of people causing little ones to sin. I don't think this means children dining I think it means involving children in sinful acts or committing harmful or sinful acts against children.

Whenever you take advantage of the weak, the caring, the trusting, the loving you tread on the most dangerous ground. when you seek to advance your cause and don't stop to look at the harm it does that's when you should be afraid. When we use God and faith as traps for prey we are the most in danger of fire.

But the smalls stuff the stumbles the awkwardness the missteps. And those in our siblings in Christ these are stepping stones and avenues to show love and support. Not chinks in armor to exploit.