Who Is My Brother? Who is my Neighbor? Who is my fellow-citizen?

Devotional thought of the day:One of the churches I was able to visit in China...
9  The LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He answered, “I don’t know. Am I supposed to take care of my brother?” Genesis 4:9 (TEV)

17  “Do not bear a grudge against others, but settle your differences with them, so that you will not commit a sin because of them. 18  Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as you love yourself. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:17-18 (TEV)

317  The Apostle also wrote that “there is no more Gentile and Jew, no more circumcised and uncircumcised; no one is barbarian or Scythian, no one is a slave or a free man; there is nothing but Christ in any of us.” Those words are as valid today as they were then. Before the Lord there is no difference of nation, race, class, state… Each one of us has been born in Christ to be a new creature, a son of God. We are all brothers, and we have to behave fraternally towards one another!  (Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1501-1505). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.)

We are a society that lives on the defensive.  We see it nationally, where we spend billions on trying to protect our assets, and when our leaders try to help out others in need, they are blasted.  We see it in how we want justice, as long as its impact is NIMBY (not in my back yard) as long as it doesn’t affect my neighborhood. We are wiling to help extended family, as long as it doesn’t cost our immediate family, or even our personal needs, wants, desires. We honor the sacrifice of the past, as long as it doesn’t mean we have ot sacrifice today.  Martyrs of 500 years ago are honored, but we don’t want to face the fact that there are martyrs every day.  Because that might mean we have to suffer.

It is the nature of our world, and if in no other way, we struggle to be in that world, but not of it, in regards to this.

We struggle to be one in Christ.

We struggle to forgive hurts, to reconcile, to ever desire those things.  We want instead to justify our actions, our words, our thoughts, We want to be know as the ones who are right,the ones who do things the way they should be done, and those members of our family, or those nor from our community, or from our country, are always wrong.

We need to go back to the basics, to our baptism, to the moment the Holy Spirit cuts open our hearts and creates in us faith, when He gives us a new mind, when we become new creatures.  We need to keep that moment before us, to remind us of who we are.  Not just a Parker, nor just someone who lives in Cerritos, or the USA, but one who has found Jesus completely trustworthy, who realizes the love and mercy given to me, who recognizes the healing done in heart and soul.

It is then I can ask the questions of who is my brother, or neighbor, or fellow citizen on this journey through life.  The answer?

Who did Christ die for?

The only way to love them, is in Christ. For then we can deal with the hurt, the pains the betrayals, knowing God has already dealt with those injuries at the cross.  Even as He dealt with ours.

That’s what faith is… trusting in God’s presence, His love, His mercy, for us all…..

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on June 11, 2014, in Devotions, The Furrow and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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