For those of you who enjoy taking cup cake classes in school, searching for an easy A, the Bible contains some difficult challenges. Depending upon how self critical you are, the words of scripture expose darkness with light. Subsequently, no matter how good of a person you may be, its surprising how many people fail the Bible’s love test.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen, 1 John 4:20.
The one whom Jesus loved opens up this short quiz. When all other disciples abandoned Jesus following his arrest, John stood by his side at the cross where he died. What John heard on this day sent shock waves to what he believed about love. Despite being beaten, mocked and tortured, Jesus cried out, “forgive them for they know not what they do.” This statement inspired question number one.
1. Is there anyone you despise, hate or treat with contempt?
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins, Matthew 6:14-15.
The second participant chimes as from an unique perspective. Serving as a tax collector, Levi also known as Matthew worked in one of the most corrupt occupations of his day. During Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he mentions prostitutes on the same level with tax collectors. Thus, its highly possible that Matthew made many enemies, cheating and stealing money from hard working citizens. With this in mind, forgiveness is something that Matthew sought, touched by Jesus’ words above.
2. Have you forgiven everyone who has hurt you or is there a grudge you are currently holding on to?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these,” Mark 12:30-31.
Finally, John Mark is an individual who initially left the mission field, letting down the apostle Paul. Yet, over time Mark matured, eventually winning back the respect he lost with Paul. This transformation was made possible with the words shared by Jesus above. The context of this question involved a trap with Pharisees attempting to trick Jesus into de-emphasizing one of the 10 commandments. Yet, his words essentially summarize the first four with one comment and the final six with his second statement setting up the final question.
3. Where is your love for God currently and are you following the golden rule in your interactions with others?
If you failed this test like me, may God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy lift you up and fill you with a heart willing to bear with, embrace and love one another.
by Jay Mankus