where does loving my neighbor stop…..
Devotional Thought fo the Day:
16 And we ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us. God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them. 17 Love is made perfect in us in order that we may have courage on the Judgment Day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ’s. 18 There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment. 19 We love because God first loved us. 20 If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen. 21 The command that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also. 1 John 4:16-21 (TEV)
869 If you really loved God with all your heart, then that love for your neighbour, which you sometimes find so hard to have, would come as a necessary consequence of your Great Love. You would never feel hostility towards anyone, nor would you discriminate between people.
Your neighbor, the one that cut you off on the freeway. Or maybe the one who was promoted over you unfairly at work, he’s your neighbor, isn’t he? what about your old high school friend, who stabbed you in the back/ Or what about that false preacher, the guy who doesn’t agree with anyone else (or so it seems) in your denomination, is he your neighbor?
If these are those you are called to love, is there a point where you can stop loving them?
Where you can with all purity of heart wish God’s wrath to fall on them? Where you can hope that they receive justice, and not the mercy of God?
i can perhaps come up with 50 reasons I should be able to just hate them, or dismiss them into obscurity. Those I have heard as a pastor, and some I came up with myself. We may not want to deal with them, we may not want them in our neighborhood, or our church, or our denomination.
Yet, we are still called to love them. To not only do what is best for them, but to do it in a loving way. (not gritting our teeth, or just saying – this will hurt – but its what’s best for you… ) We are still called ot be like Christ in the way we deal with them.
I had a friend who once said you don’t change anything as a pastor within your church, until you know its place so well it hurts you to change it. If that is true for a practice, or a tradition, can you see the necessity of the same attitude towards a person?
this is the atitude of God, so clearly seen in the words from Ezekiel,
” 10 The LORD spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “repeat to the Israelites what they are saying: ‘We are burdened with our sins and the wrongs we have done. We are wasting away. How can we live?’ 11 Tell them that as surely as I, the Sovereign LORD, am the living God, I do not enjoy seeing sinners die. I would rather see them stop sinning and live. Israel, stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die?” Ezekiel 33:10-11 (TEV)
Would you cry over than neighbor’s continued lack of repentance? Or would you rejoice? Would you carry a cross for them, for the joy set before you? Or would you simply dismiss them as having rejected God, because they rejected you? ( And would you count on Jesus to forgive you your debts, even as you refuse to forgive them theirs?
Hard questions? Sure!
But they should cause you to run to the only place the answer can be found. In the wounds of Christ crucified, in the eyes of the one who cries out for our forgiveness, even as He steals our sins from us.
You see, to love your neighbor like this requires only one thing…. our unity with Christ.
Nothing else will make it happen, nothing else will cause us to desire it to happen. We will search for every lookhole, try to find every exception, Look back into our lives to every pain and challenge God saying, “You can’t mean this one Lord, the pain is too hard”
It is then we realize the depth of our need for Jesus…. and His faithfulness.
Which is what we need to know about Jesus.
May every service, every mass, every Bible study with others, every quiet time of prayer, devotion and study, reveal to us His presence… so we can know the impossible, is certainly doable….. AMEN
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3073-3075). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on January 30, 2015, in Devotions, Poiema, The Forge and tagged agape, cHesed, healing, love, love you neigbor, Miracle, Theology of the Cross, walking with Jesus. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.