Friends in Christ Weekly Message
[NOTE: This message was originally published October 26, 2002.]
October 22, 2011
Stop being angry and don't try to take revenge. I am the Lord, and I command you to love others as much as you love yourself.
Leviticus 19:18 (CEV*)
People who know little scripture are often not aware of the degree to which it addresses in practical ways the kinds of situations in which we get involved. The basic issues we deal with haven't really changed since the time of this ancient Hebrew book, although some of the specifics dealt with in other parts of the book are somewhat timebound. This verse is of timeless significance.
How often do we get annoyed at something, and respond with anger and are maybe even tempted to take revenge? Here we are told bluntly that this is wrong. We are not to consider whether or not a particular situation is one in which it is appropriate to respond with anger and perhaps even to take revenge. It's always wrong.
Not only does an angry response fail to bring another closer to God, it creates barriers between us and God. We are called to model the boundless love and willingness to forgive of God. We may always slip at times, but we should be seeking to get closer and closer to being witnesses of Christ in the way we respond to others.
The second part of this verse is an early statement of what Christ referred to as the second great commandment. We are called to move away from selfishness to where we love others as much as ourselves, or even more. I don't believe we can do this by just willing it. We need to allow Christ to live within us in order to truly follow this commandment. We actually need to become "a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15). Part of the "Good News" is that this is possible for us.
Dear Lord, help us become people who do not respond to difficult situations and relationships with anger and revenge. Mold us into new creations who love others as much, maybe even more, than ourselves. May we become examples of your love and understanding and compassion in this world.
* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.
©2002, 2011 Friends in Christ, Inc.
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Document last modified on Saturday, 29-Oct-2011 20:30:42 EDT