Monday, December 6, 2010

Everything in Love (Even a Rebuke!)

Christians do good works to help and serve their neighbor. Everything is out of love and concern... EVERYTHING.

Even a rebuke must come out of concern for the spiritual health and safety of our neighbor. We do not rebuke because we know that we are right and they are wrong (as the Pharisees did). We rebuke out of the same concern that a parent has when they try to stop a child from touching a hot stove.

So even when the law is applied to secure sinners, it is not done out of wrath, pride, or vengeance... but from the selfless love that flows from the Holy Spirit who does not desire the death of the sinner, but that the wicked would repent and live! [Ezekiel 18:32]. If we are to emulate Christ, we must learn to come from this same place of selflessness and compassion.

This should be a constant petition in our prayers, because none of us do this as we should. We do not love our neighbors as we ought. We want to defeat them and be better than them. We want to stand in the high places, be respected, and have the authority to correct their errors and stand in judgment of their life choices. We want to be the gurus that are respected for our sage advice. But who among us can boast? Who is so free of sin that they can feel confident to cast the first stone of condemnation in any situation?

We are not called to be the greatest. We are called to be the least. We share in the cross and in Christ's humility. By the power of the gift of a living faith, the Holy Spirit that dwells in us creates new passions and naturally produces fruit such as love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the great gifts of God that we must share with our neighbor. How will anyone know God's love and mercy through you if they are shown nothing but hardness of heart, enmity, anger, and pride?

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