Tag Archives: Living Justly

Living Examples

Living in the Spirit
September 16, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:21-35

Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
–Matthew 18:21-22

The Greek word translated here as church in other translations appears as brother. It means coming from the same womb and does refer not only to biological siblings but also people who share the same religious family.  My first reaction is to wonder should this instruction apply to all relationships?  I think it should, but the point may be that our life in Christ calls us to set an example for others to help them see the ways of Christ in action.

I am uncomfortable with the consideration that we are called to deal with our fellow Christian differently than we deal with all people. Granted Peter’s question does not directly deal with the issue of worldview. Perhaps his question arose from a specific incident involving fellow disciples. In any case we cannot escape the fact that how we treat each other is a reflection on how non-Christians perceive Christ.

With all the natural  disasters that have hit the world and particularly the Americas in the last few weeks, those who see God’s justice descending in such calamities are making the case for this system of belief falling back on their primary concerns of sins in our society related to things like no prayer in school and what they consider sexual deviations. I do believe that it rains on the just and the unjust. (See Matthew 5:45) I also think we all must face the consequences of our own actions or lack of actions such as ignoring our responsibility for care of the earth. But I think it is a little too convenient to cast dispersions on what we perceive to be the sins of others, certainly not our own, while we support cutting off millions of people from adequate health care, making profit from warehousing prisoners, and walling out strangers. We might do well to review Jesus’ criteria for judgment found in Matthew 25.

Prayer: Guide us, O God, in living lives worthy of representing you well to those who have not yet encountered you or perhaps were not introduced to you in a positive manner. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Living Justly

paydayloansignLiving in the Spirit
October 29, 2016

Scripture Reading: Luke 19:1-10

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ –Luke 19:1-7

Who is on our top ten list of sinners with whom we do not choose to associate? We, of course, like to think that we do not judge and isolate others, but we do. In our world, we might be more apt to fawn after a rich person than to shun them. Who would be the equivalent of a tax-collector type today? Perhaps a member of the mob or a gang would fit the bill as people whose riches were from ill-gotten gain. Would it be the owners of payday loan companies who charge exorbitant rates or the thieves who rob the local convenience store? Our country is extremely divided. A part of that division centers in our perception of who is good and who is bad. Some consider charging the highest price the market will bear for a life-saving prescription as a good business; some think it is no different than the thief at the convenience store.

How will we ever succeed at transitioning to a world ruled by God’s love, if we are unwilling to relate to all our neighbors the same? How can we be a conduit for justice unless we seek equal treatment for all? CEO’s in this country get a golden parachute worth millions of dollars when caught in bad business practices that cheat many people out of their livelihood while the kid who robs a convenience store gets five years in prison. Where is the justice in that?

God calls God’s followers to be conduits of justice. During this election year, we have an opportunity to work toward justice as a part of our civic duty by voting for issues that support restorative justice. More importantly, we are called to emulate Jesus by befriending all who are out of sync with God’s justice helping them like Jesus helped Zacchaeus to heed God’s call to live justly.

Prayer: Lord, plant in our hearts both the desire to live justly and a will to do justice. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights