God bless, beloved,
The other day, I was on a conference call with three healthcare providers regarding the future plans for someone in their care. The person who initiated and steered the conversation was curt and somewhat disrespectful. When I talked, she discarded what I said and interrupted. Such interaction offers an invitation to respond in kind, especially when the subject matter is of upmost importance. Later that day, I met one of the other participants of the conference who apologized for the rudeness of her associate. She said, “I hope you were not offended” to which I said “in the quickly moving moments of my life, I do not have time for hurt feelings and negative reactions.” The matter of importance was not putting straight the person with poor people skills, rather the wellbeing of the individual we conferenced about.
We have been called to a higher standard than grappling with people who are disrespectful and contentious. We have been saved from that pit of human depravity and need not ever sink to that low level of existence again. Our Father has equipped us with His holy spirit to live above the nonsense, to walk as Jesus modeled, and obey our Lord’s commands to love even when we are unjustly treated.
You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Jesus’ promptness and clarity were striking when asked which was the great commandment in the Law. He said to love God! Then, with the same briskness and absoluteness, he said the second great commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” No hesitation or contemplation was necessary because our Lord obviously understood God’s top priority and the essence of the entire Law. We too should hold such clarity and focus.
The Phillips Modern English Bible gives a very thought-provoking translation of 1 Timothy 1:5.
“The ultimate aim of the Christian ministry, after all, is to produce the love which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a genuine faith.”
The beginning of a new year is a good time to evaluate and prioritize our lives. Logically, love for God and others is of most importance.