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Tag Archives: loving your neighbor as yourself

What is Your Record?

When I was in grade school, boys were obsessed with records. Every day at lunch and recess debates broke out about who was the best athlete, rock band, and professional sports team. Lines were drawn, voices were raised and the victor teased anyone who didn’t hold their position. According to one of Jesus’ disciples, God knows your spiritual record based upon what you’ve done in life.

I know your record and what you are doing, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your recent works are more numerous and greater than your first ones, Revelation 2:19.

There was a long stretch in my life where I received a job offer for every position that I interviewed for. Despite stumbling through a couple of interviews when stuttering was still an obstacle in my life, God’s favor was clearly on my life. Unfortunately, sometime over the last decade, my record for interviews has hit a major losing streak. Like one of the churches in the Book of Revelation, my love for God has grown cold and the favor which was once bright as a rising sun has quickly faded.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong], 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.

The good news to my current dilemma is that God keeps no record of wrongs. The apostle Paul reveals this fact in a chapter devoted to spiritual love. Meanwhile, King David provides hope for anyone with a losing record in life, Psalm 103:7-12. God’s grace, forgiveness, and mercy is infinite. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you’ve experienced a life filled with losing. According to Jesus, the only record God cares about is forgiving others just as the Lord has forgiven you, Matthew 6:14-15. When Christians start loving your neighbor as yourself, God’s favor will return.

by Jay Mankus

Forsaking the Straight Road

Straight is one of those words that has evolved over time. When I was in Junior High School, this slang expression was often used to question a boy’s sexuality. As an adult trying to get a 75-year-old house ready to move into this summer, straight is the process of aligning, plumbing and squaring up your measurements. From a biblical perspective, straight coincides with following God’s commands, decrees, and precepts. Yet, free will gives each human being the choice to do what they want or feel is right.

Forsaking the straight road they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam [the son] of Beor, who loved the reward of wickedness, 2 Peter 2:15.

The origin of straight dates back to the Old Testament when God gave Moses ten standards to live by in Exodus 20. While being questioned by the Pharisees in the first century, Jesus breaks the commandments into two separate categories, Matthew 22:34-40. The first four deal with loving God with all of your heart, soul and mind. The final four commandments focus on loving your neighbor as yourself. According to Peter, Balaam forsook the straight road by failing to love his neighbors.

Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. 14 But the gate is narrow (contracted [k]by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it, Matthew 7:13-14.

During one of his famous first century speeches, Jesus compares the straight road to a narrow path. Robert Frost alludes to this in his poem The Road Not Taken. Unfortunately, human nature and peer pressure persuade most people to proceed down the highway to hell. This decision doesn’t take much thought or sacrifice. However, when you start to feel empty inside, void of any meaning and purpose in life, enter the narrow way. The quicker you make a U-turn back to God, the more fulfilling your life will become on the road called Straight.

by Jay Mankus

A Touch of Class

History is filled with stories of individuals doing whatever it takes to reach the throne. This struggle to gain and maintain control of a kingdom has inspired many dramas with the most recent the Game of Thrones. When the nation of Israel transitioned from Judges as rulers to a monarchy, King Saul began to feel threatened by David. This jealousy influenced Saul to eliminate his future competition, giving orders to hunt down and kill David.

And David said, Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And of the house of Saul there was a servant whose name was Ziba. When they had called him to David, he said to him, Are you Ziba? He said, I, your servant, am he. The king said, Is there not still someone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the [unfailing, unsought, unlimited] mercy and kindness of God? Ziba replied, Jonathan has yet a son who is lame in his feet, 2 Samuel 9:1-3.

When news of King Saul’s death reached David, the transition of power from Saul’s family to David’s began. Fearful of retribution, the only living male, Jonathon’s only son was hidden in a far desolate location. Instead of repaying evil with evil, David’s friendship with Jonathon softened his heart. During a cabinet meeting, David offers a touch of class, wondering if he could show kindness to a member Saul’s house.

And Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and did obeisance. David said, Mephibosheth! And he answered, Behold your servant! David said to him, Fear not, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your father [grandfather], and you shall eat at my table always. And [the cripple] bowed himself and said, What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I am? Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, I have given your master’s son [grandson] all that belonged to Saul and to all his house, 2 Samuel 9:6-9.

While Mephibosheth was a young child, 5 years old, one of his caretakers accidently dropped him. The freak nature of this fall permanently damaged Mephibosheth’s feet, similar to a Lisfranc fracture. Subsequently, Mephibosheth was unable to walk for the rest of his life. I guess you can say King David was way ahead of his time, caring for and loving Mephibosheth regardless of his condition. In the end, David was following the golden rule before it was introduced, “loving your neighbor as yourself.”

by Jay Mankus

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