Now the Bible is littered with statements about love. In the Old Testament they seem, more often than not, to be about the individual and God. In the New Testament such statements are more about love between individuals. "Love one another as I have loved you" for example. This does, however, raise certain questions.
How does one obey an injunction to love? How can one love to order? If it is indeed possible to do so then clearly, love is something other than what is usually meant by that often misused word. And what about, "Love your enemies." What does that mean? For me it can only mean treat others with the respect that you would like to receive from them.
On a broader scale, the idea that one can love the whole world, interpreted literally, is totally beyond me if for no other reason than sheer impracticality. It makes little sense to me, a flawed human being, and seems to be asking for the impossible. How then has this idea found its way into our culture? I would suggest that it has done so through the agency of religion. Christianity, and I will speak for no other religion, has imposed a belief system on its followers which appears to be impossible by taking the sayings of Jesus the Nazarene [and some of the apostles] completely out of context.
Did the Nazarene ever say that we should love the world? No. Whenever he and other New Testament writers talked about this matter they were inevitably talking to particular groups of people, and how they should treat each other within that group. Often the group was no larger than Jesus' disciples; sometimes it was simply a church community battling for spiritual survival in an ideologically and physically hostile world. We see the same kind of injunction of loving one another in Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-anon, Narcotics Anonymous and other groups. There, within the narrow confines of a group working for its own spiritual recovery, it works and can work very well.
Is there a way that we can get out of that seemingly impossible injunction to love everyone? Perhaps the word that stands out most, when I think about love for one another, is "kind". Let us be kind to one another, for we are all of a kind. That kind-ness is shared with the rest of the animal kingdom for we are all part of that kingdom. Indeed, we share much with all the other and various life forms on this planet.
Perhaps by paying focused attention on our own psycho-spiritual condition and recovery we will, as a result, allow the rest of the world to heal. How wonderful it could be to believe, as a guiding principle, not in a brotherhood of man or a sisterhood of woman but.......... in the "Kind-ness of Creation." We might then be a little more respectful of the living world around us, and even humbly come to love it.