“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew [7:12]
Have you noticed in yourself a tendency to justify the neglect of one responsibility in order to observe another? The most likely candidate for this behavior in my mind comes in the context of household chores, “I can’t do the dishes. I need to do some office work.” Or maybe it comes in the treatment of others. “I am not helping those people. I obey the commandments, and they obviously do not!”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offers instruction on how to live in His Kingdom. He repeatedly confronts an outward ‘goodness’ by elevating an inner goodness. Jesus reveals this goodness can be summarized by empathetically practicing kindness to others, whether they are part of our people group or not.
God’s desire for His people to love others as themselves has been the same from the beginning. In the Ancient Law of Moses, God commanded, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself…” (Lev. [19:18]).
Following Jesus calls us to show love and mercy to all people. In fact, the essence of obeying him is showing love and mercy to all people. Are you using ‘holiness’ as your exemption clause? Jesus tells us that holiness is modeled by loving others faithfully.
Father, fill my heart with compassion for others. Allow me to see the opportunities You provide me to show kindness to someone outside my circle. Grant me the courage to love even if it seems uncomfortable. Amen.
For Further Reading