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Tag Archives: loving your neighbor

How Can You Love Your Neighbor When You Hate The Person You’ve Become?

Clive Staples Lewis was an atheist and British writer before becoming a lay theologian. C.S. Lewis once contemplated the concept of loving your neighbor. The following quote reveals his thoughts. You are told to love your neighbor as yourself. How do you love yourself? When I look into my own mind, I find that I do not love myself by thinking myself a dear old chap or having affectionate feelings.” This same dilemma exists today as how can you love your neighbor when many people don’t like the person they’ve become.

Teacher, which [e]kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?] 37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect), Matthew 22:36-37.

Following a series of parables, Jesus is asked by a religious leader a spiritual question. “What’s the most important commandment?” Instead of de-emphasizing the other 9 from the most essential, Jesus divides the commandments into two parts. The first 4 commandments are based upon loving God with the final 6 focused on loving your neighbor. When Christians began to love God with all their hearts, soul and mind, the practice of religion turns into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. 40 These two commandments [f]sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 22:38-40.

When hearts grow cold, love stops naturally flowing out of human beings. If faith is not revived or resuscitated, this lack of love can slowly turn into self hatred for oneself. When sources for love dry up, there is no positivity that bubbles over on to the people you interact with daily. The longer this subtle decay continues, there is no inspiration to love friends and family. The key to loving your neighbor is to tap into the love of God, John 3:16-17. As individuals begin to feel and sense God’s love, desires to pass this on to others is restored. Unfortunately, healing take time. Just hang in there long enough for restoration to ignite your heart with the love of God.

by Jay Mankus

Under the Influence of Hypocrisy

The definition of under the influence refers to the capacity or power of a substance to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, and language of individuals. This phrase is often used in the context of driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Terms such as drunk, inebriated, intoxicated and tipsy are synonyms to describe someone who is under the influence of a foreign substance. If souls make a conscious decision to participate in this type of behavior, are there other spiritual forces that affect, burden or control minds?

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye, Matthew 7:5.

If you are like me, you probably know someone who lives by the motto, “do what I say, not as I do.” The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not reflect is hypocrisy. These type of individuals can be annoying, ruining a school or work setting. However, what if you reach a point in your own life where you possess good intentions, but you never carry out your convictions. Unfortunately, I find myself in this very predicament, under the influence of hypocrisy. I have become that which I despise.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen, 1 John 4:20.

One of Jesus’ disciples brings up a similar issue which began to occur during the first century. As new converts dedicated their lives from their past, sinful thoughts remained. Thus, while people could say they love God, many still harbored hate within their hearts, unable to forgive some people. In the initial portion of his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, Jesus gives tangible examples of how to live out the 10 Commandments. During a debate with religious leaders, Jesus simplified these rules into 2 simple goals, love God and love your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:37-40. This is the only way I know to be set free from being under the influence of hypocrisy. If you still can’t break free, rely on prayer to rescue your soul.

by Jay Mankus

The Fundamental Basis for Law

Prominent founding fathers argued that the United States Constitution should not be ratified as it failed to protect the basic principles of human liberty.  This led James Madison to propose amendments to the constitution.  These amendments known as the Bill of Rights were inspired by George Mason’s 1776 Virginia Declarations of Rights, the 1689 English Bill of Rights, works during the Age of Enlightenment pertaining to natural rights and the Magna Carta, 1215.  Ironically, the Magna Carta would inspire American colonists a few hundred years later to declare independence from Great Britain.  Roughly one-third of the provisions in the United States’ Bill of Rights draw from the Magna Carta, particularly from its 39th clause.

“The fundamental basis of this Nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings that we get from Exodus and St, Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul, ” President Harry S. Truman, 1950.

The 33rd president of the United States goes one step further, claiming that the foundation upon which the United States has based its laws comes directly out of the Bible.  As a World War I veteran and the Vice President to FDR, Truman who took office following Roosevelt’s death.  Under Truman’s leadership, World War II ended following the use of two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Less than a month after dropping these bombs, Japan surrendered.  Sometimes you have to use drastic measures to end worldly conflicts.  While Truman is still criticized today for this controversial decision, few will remember this president for his quote listed above.  Although modern historians glance over, ignore and suppress biblical influences on the founding of America, the Bill of Rights borrows from civil law within the ten commandments.

“Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you.13 “You shall not commit murder (unjustified, deliberate homicide).14 “You shall not commit adultery.15 “You shall not steal [secretly, openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness].16 “You shall not testify falsely [that is, lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person).17 “You shall not covet [that is, selfishly desire and attempt to acquire] your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor,” Exodus 20:12-17.

The ten commandments contain two separate categories, loving God and loving your neighbor, Matthew 22:36-39.  The first four provide instructions on how individuals can honor and please the Lord.  The final six focus on civil laws or as Jesus details in Matthew 22, loving your neighbor as yourself.  This is the foundation of the Golden Rule, “treating other people as you want to be treated.”  In this day and age, educators, lawyers and politicians often try to make the simple complex.  Yet, Jesus simplifies the fundamental basis for law so that even a young child can understand.  Every day God offers free will, giving people the option to love or hate, forgive or hold grudges, overlook offenses or magnify sin.  The choice is yours, but I pray that the Holy Spirit inspires you during this Christmas season to develop an overwhelming desire to love God and those you come in contact with daily.

by Jay Mankus

Despite How You Really Feel…

In an age of lawlessness, feelings can conceive acts of violence.  Whether its road rage, disputes between neighbors or workplace tensions, feelings provide individuals with an excuse for their behavior.  Perhaps, this may explain Jesus’ harsh words in Matthew 5:21-26, comparing hatred with murder.  Thus, if you sense anger beginning to consume your soul, think twice before giving into these desires.

King David provides a guideline for anyone who reaches a tipping point, as their feelings boil over.  Psalm 35:13-14 displays the right way to respond to mistreatment from others.  Despite how you really feel, there is a proper way to react to those in need, whether you like them or not.  Essentially, David is illustrating a blue print of loving your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:39.

A generation ago, most American parents held a common value, relayed to their children weekly, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!”  Adults in the neighborhood weren’t afraid to discipline other kids on the block, correcting anyone who crossed the line of morality.  Today, lawsuits, moral decay and a rejection of God has led many to follow their feelings.  Yet, if you want to do what is right, remember the words of Micah 6:8, “act justly, love mercy and humbly walk with God.”

by Jay Mankus

When Israel Was Amoral

The term amoral refers to someone who has never been taught right from wrong.  Based upon how people are raised, will determine their degree of innocence.  Strict parents attempt to clearly distinguish moral from immoral behavior, with some becoming too legalistic.  Meanwhile, a growing trend has parents treating their children like friends, overlooking discipline, trying to be liked instead of providing a moral compass for life.  As a former teacher, the moment you assume all your students know the basics, you’re thrown for a loop, scratching your head at all the diverse standards people use.

In the days of Exodus 18, Israel was amoral, not able to ascertain right from wrong on their own.  Before receiving the 10 commandments in Exodus 20, God only provided laws regarding to Himself, Exodus 15:26.  Therefore, when it came to being civil to one another, opinions and values varied.  As a result, Moses was the Supreme Court, the only judge in Israel working from sunrise and sunset 6 days a week, Exodus 18:13-18.  As a shrew man of wisdom, Jethro knew that Moses would not be able to keep up this pace, on the fast track to burn out.  Before he crashed and burned, Jethro gave Moses a vision for the first court system, elevating his own burdens by training others to oversee easy disputes, Exodus 18:19-22.

Based upon the location of this passage in relation to the 10 commandments, one might suggest God’s introduction of the last 6 commandments is directly related to Israel’s amoral state in chapter 18.  Unfortunately, as states in America continue to ban court houses from publicly displaying the 10 commandments, citizens of this country appear to be just as confused as the Israelites many years ago.  If schools and work places had Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:37-40 in plain view for everyone to see, maybe just maybe, amoral people would learn and be persuaded to treat others as they want to be treated.  May God use these passages in the Bible to transform Americans from amoral citizens into law abiding and loving individuals.

by Jay Mankus

The Real Smooth Operator

During the summer of 1984, the English group Sade released the song Smooth Operator, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for 2 weeks.  The distinct voice of Sade Adu has etched a place in history for this song, a classic which highlights the unique sounds of the 1980’s.  While modern commercial studs, movie stars and players try to claim this crown, there is only one Smooth Operator, Jesus of Nazareth.

According to Mark 12:13-15, the religious police came after Jesus, pulling out all their stunts to find a way to arrest him.  In Act I, found in Mark 12:15-17, Jesus faces off with the Pharisees and Herodians, thirsty for blood ever since Mark 3:6.  These two religious groups attempt to force Jesus into a corner where he either breaks Roman law, not paying taxes to Caesar or refuses to respect the proper temple tax.  Celebrating too earlier, Jesus asks for a coin, answers both questions, leaving a jaw dropping response in Mark 12:17.

Act II begins in Mark 12:18-27 with a group known as the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead.  Thus, one of their zealots poses a hypothetical question, hoping to stump and or trick Jesus into giving an unbiblical reply.  Likely yawning, thinking, “is that the best you’ve got,” Jesus quickly disposes these morons.  Toying with their minds, Jesus clarifies their flawed logic by explaining there is no marriage in heaven and Oh by the way, Moses served the God of the living, not the dead.

On fire now, burning through his competition, Act III rolls out one final expert to duel Jesus, a teacher of the law, Mark 12:28-39.  Playing pin the tail on the donkey, this teacher thinks he can get Jesus to de-emphasize one of the 10 commandments, Exodus 20:1-17.  Instead, Jesus divides the commandments God gave to Moses in 2 classifications: 1-4 focus on loving God, 6-10 require loving your neighbor as yourself.  By loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and following the golden rule, individuals can insure that they will keep all 10 commandments.  Astonished by his wisdom, this teacher of the law is nearly converted by Jesus in Mark 12:34.  After this, no one else dared to ask Jesus another question, proving once and for all, He is the real smooth operator!

by Jay Mankus

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