Tag Archives: Love one another

Do Unto Others

Living in the Spirit
November 3, 2017

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13

We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.
–1 Thessalonians 2:13

I fear we put a lot of words in God’s mouth. Thank God for the prophets sent to set us straight! It is also comforting to know that not everything depends on us getting it right when we share our faith. The spirit works to support us and more importantly to provide for those whose lives we touch a still small voice to help them ferret out what is of God.

Recently I read where Christians are creating atheist because our attitudes and interpretations of our beliefs are not something many find inviting. We sometimes say one thing and demonstrate through our lives another. It is hard to sell a God of love when we set ourselves apart as being better than others.

An experiment might help. Spend a week writing down the ways you have treated other people. Just simple honest notes. “Held the door for a woman carrying a baby.” “Avoided check out with the store clerk with purple hair and many piercings.” “Locked my car door when stopping at a light where youth of another race were waiting to cross the street.”

The second week observe how others treat you and how it made you feel. “Car cut me off in traffic, scared me.” “Woman in Bible study group spoke with great authority about something with which I disagreed, but I just sat their wish I had said something.” “ I was seated at an empty table when someone asked if they could join me. Made me feel good.”

The third week practice what you learned from the experience. Be intentional about how you treat others.

Prayer: Lord, guide us in our work of serving you more nearly through our interrelationships with others 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.

Love is a Choice

Living in the Spirit
July 7, 2017

Scripture Reading: Romans 7:15-25a

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin. –Romans 7:21-25a

Choices, God gives us choices. Made in God’s image, we must assume that God has choices also and God chooses to love all the time, every time. God’s goal for each of us and as importantly all of us together to come to that same conclusion choosing to love, all the time, every time. If it is not our choice, we are not loving. There is something about the nature of love that requires righteous or just engagement one with another.

Humans like to define love with adjectives—tough love, eternal love, erotic love, brotherly love, Agape love. Love in any sense is wanting the very best for another or all others. In the final analysis, we do not get to define what that best is. Blessed with a role model in the life of Jesus, we can start our journey in love by loving as Jesus did. That requires us to take the time to study his ways of being with others. He seemed to have all the patience in the world for some and routinely expected far better out of others, like the religious leaders of the day. He welcomed the stranger, extended open arms to children, mixed with the untouchables, enjoyed a good party, mourned with those in grief, shared his love of God with everyone and as Saint Francis suggests sometimes used words.

The devil never makes us do evil; we always choose to do evil. That does not mean evil is non-existent and not tempting us at every turn. It just means we need to grasp the better way with a tighter grip.

Prayer: Teach us to love each other as you would have us, love. 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.

Loving the Other

jesus-sending-out-disciples-2-by-2Living in the Spirit
July 5, 2015

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:1-13

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.  –Mark 6b-13

I heard a news report regarding the results of a survey trying to determine what caused the shift in the United States among its citizens from being against gay marriage to supporting it. What they found was for most people their hearts and minds were changed not from protests or TV shows but from actually knowing someone who is homosexual and understanding his or her life situation better. Isn’t that what Jesus is addressing in our scripture today that we need to go into the world and actually get to know our neighbors. Learn the problems that they face, live with them through their unique issues.

Jesus was all about the way we live. He called us to a life of loving God and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. These are two basic principles from his Hebrew background, ancient in origin, nothing new at all, yet woefully missing from our practice. Any regular readers of my devotions probably think I quote them ad nauseam and I can promise you that is not going to change until I get it right and our society gets it right. I believe this is the repentance to which he instructed his disciples to introduce others.  He did not list a lot of “thou shalt nots” but these two “thou shalts” for when we get these “thou shalts” right the “thou shalt nots” are no longer needed.

Jesus calls us to get to know the people whose paths we most likely would never cross unless we make the effort to seek them and meet them and love them just as they are.

Prayer: Love that will not let us go, free us from the fear of opening our hearts and minds to others. Help us accept each other and let love be the ointment that brings us to wholeness, oneness, and justice.

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 reserved.