Meditation Monday: Pardons Not Badges

Pardons

When we became Christians, we didn’t get badges, we received pardons.

God so loved us that He became one of us. As Jesus was dying because of us, he asked forgiveness for us. He pardoned us.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing. Luke 23:34 (CEB)

“Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matthew 22:36-40 (CEB)

We need to love ourselves as God loves us. We need to love one another as ourselves. We need to love one another as God loves us.

God’s love shows up as grace, forgiveness, trust, excitement and righteousness. Can we do the same with one another?

God you command us to love others as ourselves. But sometimes we don’t love ourselves very well. But your first command is to love you. In loving you, we learn how to love ourselves as you love us. Help us to love each other as you love us with the perfect love you have given us. Perfection is the goal, but the journey to it is life. Amen.

Meditation Monday: Love Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor

“Love thy neighbor” is a precept often found in Christian vernacular, but sometimes difficult to practice. There is an apocryphal story of a church in the mid-west, who had an atheist that attended church every Sunday. He helped out with regular church activities and when asked why an atheist would go to church he answered, “I like the people.”

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5-6 ESV

I suspect for the church the sentiment was the same, they liked him. Despite their deep differences, this atheist and this church were able to form community with one another. They saw beyond their differences to the fact that they were all human beings trying to find their way in this world. While they fundamentally disagreed on how to do that, they still loved one another.

Love Thy Neighbor

“… in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3: 15-16 ESV

“Gracious,” “gentleness,” and “respect,” all words used by the biblical writers to help guide Christians in their dealings with those who don’t believe as they do. Certainly these words can also be used between Christians when we disagree over important matters.

Dear God, may the early church be our example in how we can disagree with those in and out of the faith. Help us to be gracious, gentle and respectful of one another because we are all your children. In your son’s name, Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.