One great lesson from this year that has been dominated by Covid-19 is that we are all in this(whatever the this is) together. We are not each individuals trekking on our own through life, but we are part of the whole human race. Certainly, we could see that as the virus crossed the world easily and affected countries large and small, rich and poor. If we take seriously what God says in Genesis 1:27 about human beings:
“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them,”
then we need to acknowledge that we are all equally His sons and His daughters, created in His image. And further, that in God’s eyes, all of us are equally His children. And even further, that there is not one difference in this world’s terms that makes one iota of difference in God’s eyes, except that we follow His teachings, His laws, His purpose for us. But still that does not make us one iota better than anyone else, because we are still all flawed human beings, still created in His image. Our status in the world, our poverty or wealth, our skin color and heritage, our education, our position at work as a laborer or manager, what we wear or where we shop, what car we drive, what neighborhood we live in, who our friends are—none of this has anything to do with God’s love for us.
As long as we adhere to the world’s notions of what makes us stand out, we cannot live in God’s kingdom. There humility and love are the outstanding characteristics. We can look to Jesus and His interactions with all the rejects that He chose to interact with and heal—the lepers, those inhabited by demons, tax collectors, the woman who was bleeding, the crippled, the Samaritan woman, and so many more. All He had to do was call out to Zacchaeus, a hated tax collector, and he was converted. [John 19:1-10] Jesus did not exclude anyone, not even the criminal who died on the cross next to His. And that is His call to us, too, to not exclude anyone.
In Matthew 5-7 Jesus teaches that we are not only not to murder someone, but we are not to be angry or to judge anyone. [5:2, 7:1] We are to be reconciled with our brother or sister. [5:24] We are not to lust after anyone’s spouse. [5:28] We are to love our enemies. [5:44] To not “practice our righteousness in front of others. [6:1] To “forgive others when they sin against you.” [v. 14] To not see the sin in another, but to ignore your own sin. [7:3]
In all His teachings, Jesus is saying that we are to love everyone, even the rejects of our society or the ones who injured us or anyone our society discriminates against. This is God’s love: it is peace and joy communicated with love, it is patience, goodness, kindness and gentleness in everything we do, it is faithfulness and humility—all the fruit of the Spirit. [Gal 5:22-23] These are the qualities that become our own when we allow the Indwelling Spirit of God to heal and to transform who we are into people that can follow His ways of love, leaving behind us all that the world holds dear.
We are all in this human race together; we are all invited into the kingdom of God as soon as we begin to meet the standards of the fruit of the Spirit. It is God’s love, not the human kind, that we are to manifest in the world, so that more and more people would come to kneel before God’s altar, come to see How God heals and transforms us, how He accompanies us through all the challenges and cares of the world, how His presence manifests to us in compassion and mercy and real care for others, how He has designed us for a specific purpose. Then we will live together in the kingdom of God which is not a place but a state of mind in which we dwell with the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Questions to ponder over the week: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest amount of love for others, how loving am I towards other human beings? What has to change in me to move up the scale of God’s standard love? How well do I love who I am, forgive all my faults? How am I able to love God on that same scale of 1 to 10? How well do I show my love for God in how I treat others?
Blessing for the week: May we become the people of God who love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. May we show our love for God by loving everyone we meet, every other human being. May we be free of all worldly cares.
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