All You Need Is Love!

As the year 2020 progresses and passes before our eyes, one can only wonder how a small disease-causing agent like the COVID-19 virus could upend the lives of millions of people across the globe. In my professional work as a nurse bioethicist, I have been called in numerous times to provide support and consultation to both family members who cannot visit their loved ones, and to medical staff who struggle with the limited medical options available for their patients and the ensuing moral distress. I wish I could take you into the hospital rooms where I can only virtually hold their hands when they weep and agonize.

I would love to show you how important it is to protect the vulnerable through a mask, a vaccine, or other measures such as access to testing and basic healthcare provisions. Isn’t it something that Jesus would want us to do? How do we as Adventists react to the uncertainty concerning our physical, emotional, and financial health? In many congregations the pandemic has brought forth the best out of people. At the same time, like in Charles Dickens’ story, A Tale of Two Cities, it has brought to light the worst lack of neighborly love for others.[1]

As Christians, we are invited to service and to eliminate, or at least reduce, suffering. Christian service is, however, a two-pronged call, one to serve others by demonstrating God’s love for us through our compassion, and second to invite others to partake of that love. The prophet Micah states, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”[2] “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[3]

Why has empathy and compassion for our neighbors, particularly during this pandemic, given way to some uncaring behavior in some of our congregations? Some view wearing a mask as not having enough faith in God’s protection, never realizing that even Jesus pushed the temptation of doing something against better knowledge far away from him. For some church members, the Christian love for one’s neighbor has been replaced by an insistence that a person is an island to themselves, with no obligation for others if one deems that this moral duty is too burdensome. This disregard for others has now come to the surface in our churches. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, was just the wind that has fanned already present burning ambers. Now, Christian brothers and sisters openly defy other Christian brothers and sisters who submit themselves to protecting others, even intentionally undermining carefully organized social distancing activities in places of worship.

Have we lost our perspective of love for one another? Could it be that some of us are entangled in speculative conspiracy theories that are based on unverifiable facts? Bettina Krause cites in her article in Adventist World that Ellen G. White warned us from becoming too entangled in political pursuits and blind alliances.[4] Moreover, based on a study conducted by Stanford University in the United States “Partyism,” is defined as an ingroup bias.[5] That bias is so strong that people will support a particular political party in spite of having other deeply held values that are in opposition to that particular political party’s ideology on issues related to gender, race, religion, language, and ethnicity.

Our Adventist faith is based on the presence of a loving God who is kind and who protects us according to his wisdom. Small measures like wearing a mask and getting a vaccination are reasonable acts of kindness toward oneself and others. It is for the same reason that we as Adventists advocate for individual and community-based health programs. Did the COVID-19 pandemic erode our trust in God and love for our neighbors? Does it demonstrate love for others when we carry concealed or open firearms to peaceful church activities?  Some may feel empowered and protected, but others might feel intimidated by the show of openly carried weapons by non-security people. How does it affect people who have escaped an abusive home situation, gang violence, war turbulences, or had to run for their lives for other causes? Reassuring or frightening?

In 2020, the United States of America is holding a presidential election. How is this government interested in the wellbeing of others? Can neighborly love be reflected by potentially using deadly force, curbing immigration, believing in white racial supremacy, wanting to limit social services and healthcare to the poor, restricting religious tolerance, and the permissibility of exploiting the environment at all costs? Now, all these issues have been carried through the church doors and are separating us further than any social distancing of six feet can possibly accomplish.

Let us remember “Not to obstruct the legal rights of an immigrant or orphan. Don’t take a widow’s coat as pledge for a loan. Remember how you were a slave in Egypt (everybody is an immigrant to the U.S., except the Native Americans) but how the Lord your God saved you from that. That’s why I’m commanding you to do this thing. Whenever you are reaping the harvest of your field and you leave some grain in the field, don’t go back and get it. Let it go to the immigrants, the orphans, and the widows so that the Lord your God blesses you in all that you do.”[6] Not only will God bless us, He declared that by our love for one another we shall be recognized as His true church!

It is the love for others and God that is also the fundamental theme of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s (1729-1781) play Nathan the Wise.[7] Within the storyline, a wise judge told the quarreling parties that they could find out which ring/truth was the authentic one by living a life pleasing to God and humankind instead of pursuing idle ideas. The one who loves the most and shows the greatest respect for others would be the ultimate true ring/truth bearer. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus said, that by our love for God and for our neighbors, not by our name, the true church shall be known and recognized, including its members!

If Christ is at the center of our Church, then tolerance, inclusion, respect, and compassion should supersede any political ideals or theological traditions that are contradictive to loving God and the neighbor as yourself. Only in love can we come together in one faith. Let us be known as the church that loves the most and loves unconditionally. Because of this, people will be eager to hear more about Jesus and the Good News of not having to be afraid amidst the turmoil, for God is stronger than any firearms, viruses, or financial downturns.[8] All you need is Love! Even the secular Beatles knew that already. Let us be mirrors of God’s unfathomable love!


Notes & References:

[1] Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 1999. ‌

[2] Micah 6:8 (NIV)

[3] Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)

[4] Bettina Krause, “Thinking ‘Adventistly’ About Politics: How Should Seventh-day Adventists Relate to Political Entanglement and Partisanship?,” Adventist World, May 13, 2020; Ellen G. White, “Selected Messages,” Review and Herald, 1958.

[5] Milenko Martinovich, “Americans’ Partisan Identities Are Stronger than Race and Ethnicity,” Stanford News, August 31, 2017,

[6] Deuteronomy 24:17-19 (Common English Bible)

[7] Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim, and Patrick Maxwell. Nathan the Wise: A Dramatic Poem. edited by Kohut, George Alexander New York, Bloch publishing company, 1917. Pdf.

[8] Luke 12:22-32 (NIV)


Gudrun Klim, PhD, MA, RN, CNS, attends church and resides with her family in Spokane, WA, USA. She is a Registered Nurse (BSN, 1989, Union College) who holds a master’s degree and certification as a nurse specialist in Community Health Nursing (1997, Washington State University), a master’s degree in Bioethics (2017), and a PhD in Nursing (2019) from Loma Linda University. Currently, she is supporting patients, families, and healthcare providers as a nurse bioethicist at the Providence Health & Services, Eastern Washington and Montana Region.

Image credit: United Nations on


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Your last paragraph was a good summation of the cure for todays world. Thanks!


Thanks for a thoughtful contribution. This is the heart of the decision each person must make. The way of True Love brings Freedom and Equality/Justice for all.


Thank you for this well-articulated piece. I have come to believe that the reason Laodicea is so lukewarm, per John’s description in Revelation, is because we are, as a church, so focused on the minutia of the OT ritual hold-over laws. We judge people on the basis of what they eat, how they dress or look, if they wear jewelry, how they keep the Sabbath, etc. And it separates us, not only from each other, but distances us from those we would seek to charm with the gospel message of God’s unfailing and unconditional love.


Reminds me a bit about Trent Reznor and contrast with John Lennon. Trent Reznor had to battle personal demons, and try to find some meaning to climb up out of drug dependency and suicide, when he wrote about the gritty reality behind “Hurt”, and “Love is not enough”. Lennon, on the other hand, was an idealist, who wrote songs about love from perspective of a rather naive idealist.

I tend to believe Reznor more than I believe Lennon. Lennon’s love is a solution to all ills, in which recipes are never prescribed with any degree of specificity, and things just work… because love, and because you can imagine.

Reznor’s examines the darkest problems with human being in which which we can find a way to lie to ourselves to make ourselves think we are doing good, while we ultimately exploit other and hurt ourselves.

“Love is not enough”, because there isn’t such word in the Bible. Love is an English language word that’s umbrella for all sorts of concepts ranging from infatuation, to personal preference, to expressing care and concern, to empty platitude of politeness, to vacuous concept that’s synonymous with good and positive, etc, etc.

Love is not enough, precisely because we don’t agree as to what it may mean.

In the OT, love may be killing a father , or a brother of a woman in a battle, taking her home, shaving her head and making her as unattractive as possible, let her cry it out for a month, and then come back and decide if you still want to be her husband or not past the infatuation phase. And if you don’t, then you’d let her into the wild. Is it love? Certainly not by the modern markers of love. Is it a mere patch on the ugly reality of the OT setting? Maybe.

OT isn’t naive about thinking that “love” as generic ideal … will solve all of the human problems. It doesn’t provide that as a “one word” solution to “what do you do with women who are left after you fought and killed men”. Largely because it’s not the reality of human mind. Hence, we can’t resolve these issues with naive approach that offers “cure for all” in a single word.

Love is a principle. It’s not a solution. Solutions driven by moral principles … is what we need. As such these may not seem very nice or ideal at times. But it would be what we need.


Have you seen Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt”?

OMG! Sooooo poignant, raw and heart wrenching

June died 3 months after filming, Johnny died 7 months after.


Yes, that one was a piece of organic directorial genius in a way it fell together, and time it did, and the way lyrics just carry over to a different person and fill the song with a different meaning. Cash died of diabetes complications, so “needle tears a hole” in last stages of his deteriorating health would mean something different. And general idea of having a lobster and caviar feast one can’t enjoy, and looking back on life and one’s accomplishments through that lens as an “empire of dirt”… not even sure which version is more painful if you are willing to place yourself in a mindset of either.


Johnny did have a sever drug addiction, pills and booze…though no needles, I don’t think. With Johnny (and June’s) age, looking back over so many years of memories and places…well, it really gets me.

“a piece of organic directorial genius…” Absolutely!


I didn’t have a appreciation of JC until much later in my music journey. But once I started listening I got hooked

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He is one of my favourite Country Artists to this day! This song is so touching.

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I agree that our current government is not showing any love for those who have been downtrodden and marginalized. If we have the love Jesus had for others, we need to keep that in mind when we vote.


Carrol, Thank you for these words.

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