To hear this Morning Devotion, click The accounting of love
In the midst of countless “Do not …” admonitions I read this morning in Leviticus 19, there were two profoundly affirmative statements that reveal the core of God’s heart.
To those who think God is an autocratic and mean-spirited control freak, these two statements don’t add up.
But to those who understand that God is the Abba Father of the Good Shepherd, albeit a holy and righteous Father, these phrases come as no surprise.
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:14).
“When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (vv. 33-34).
It’s good to know that the Golden Rule was taught before Jesus started His preaching.
And wherever it was practiced, God was exalted and people were blessed.
God knew that it would be very difficult to do these things unless one had a close relationship with Him.
The fact is that we humans — even the believers among us — are drawn to the idea of “payback time” like kids are drawn to a bowl of candy.
It’s bad for us but we still want to taste it, convinced that it will satisfy our cravings.
The fact is that seeking revenge or bearing grudges does nothing emotionally or physically healthy for us.
You’ve known people who have been eaten alive by stress and anger because of cherished grudges and cravings for revenge
In contrast, loving our neighbor — i.e., anybody in our lives — is to characterize our conduct.
It’s SO much healthier physically and emotionally to cut the anchor ropes.
Even when that neighbor is an outsider culturally or ethnically or spiritually, we are to treat him as we would one our hometown best buddies or, as my daughters used to say, as pinky pals.
We are to love the outsider as we love ourselves.
Just as God did for us.
This kind of love doesn’t happen very much, does it?
It’s because so few people obey God in these teachings.
Thoughts of revenge and bearing of grudges are not part of God’s agenda toward you, but showing grace and love are.
Shouldn’t you do the same toward others?
I am certain that some people in my life have, because of God’s Word, chosen to love me despite my imperfections and lack of common heritage with them.
I have been blessed because they loved me as they love themselves, not because of my merit but instead because of their obedience to God.
Because they have done so for me, I am more inclined to do so for others.
It’s interesting to note that our Almighty God is watching to see if we are loving others as we do ourselves.
We need that accountability, it’s true.
For if we think that nobody is taking notes, we just might skip out on our call to love.
Please remember that Jesus died for you and me, despite the fact that we are sinful aliens deserving payback.
Let’s love somebody today as we love ourselves, cutting loose Satan’s suggested grudges and bigotries.
It’s what God desires. And it’s what God deserves.
As always, I love you