By: Mary Ellen Aldrich, Arts & Culture Editor

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Those are the words of the apostle Paul, as recorded in the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Christian Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Love, which is the original basis of Christianity, seems to be left by the wayside far too often in today’s world. Christians, non-Christians and anyone in between, we are all guilty of forgetting to love sometimes.

A man, who called himself a Christian, came to USM’s Gorham campus on Tuesday, October 10, Wearing a sandwich board, a go-pro mounted on his chest, and yielding a duct-taped Bible, the man drew a sizable crowd to the lawn near Brooks Student Center. Freedom of speech is important to me, as a Christian, as a member of the Free Press and as a human. I have no problem with the fact that this man wanted to share his opinion and views. What infuriated me was the fact that this man was warping not only the words of the Bible, but also the entire concept, point and meaning of what it is to be a Christian. His approach was entirely contradictory to what it should be as a Christian. The more he spoke, the more I wanted to take that sandwich board of his, which was plastered with labels like “pot smoking little devils,” “sports nuts” and “Mormons” and fold him up in it. However, that would not be loving.

A few students started making comments like “if you’re what Christians are like, they’re nothing I want to be associated with at all.” Unfortunately that is the impression many people have of Christians because what people see most are extremists who claim to be Christian, but then act entirely opposite of what it means to be Christian.

A Christian is someone who has a relationship with Christ, believes in Him, believes in God. Someone who strives to follow Christ and live as Christ lived. Jesus taught with love. He treated everyone with respect and kindness. He didn’t yell slurs at people. He didn’t scream erratically when someone disagreed with Him. When Jesus was asked “‘of all the commandments, which is the most important?’” (Mark 12:28, NIV) He answered, “‘The most important one is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’” (Mark 12:29-31)

The outcasts of society were Jesus’ friends. He sat and ate dinner with them. He defended people from those who wanted to stone, or otherwise injure, someone for whatever their sin was. Compassion, love, kindness, understanding, patience, gentleness those are the things that Jesus taught. That is how everyone should be treated, how everyone should act. That is what it is to be Christian. Though as humans, Christians are not perfect and will fail. But no one is better than, or of more value than, anyone else.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)


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