Join Our Pastor Ray in his sharing .
Jesus told us the two most import commandments are: “…YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ and then He said, the second most important one is, `YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ He continued…”There is no other commandment greater than these.” . No command greater than these – said Jesus!
We shared in previous sessions the difference between God’s Love and Human Love. In essence we said that our human love is ‘self-centred’ and Gods Love is ‘selfless’. We said that the two kinds of love cannot mix, and that as humans, operating out of our old sinful natures, we are not capable of loving someone as God would love us.
The answer to this challenge is that our old sinful nature needs to die – as Paul shared in Romans – and then we need to start the process of living out of our new resurrected life, which displays Gods love. We need to remember that this renewal is a daily process, as our thinking becomes renewed by the power of God’s word, revealed to us through the power of His Spirit.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke, the lawyer asked Jesus a question that I have heard many times in my own life: “And who is my neighbour?”
Just prior to that question, the scripture says – “But wishing to justify himself”. So the lawyer actually asked the question in an effort to justify his own actions towards others. Are we like the lawyer, asking the Lord questions wishing to justify our actions?
How many times have we asked the Lord, “Who is my neighbour?” and how many times have we heard this question being asked in our country currently?
I had a closer look at the parable to find my answer. However, to make the parable more meaningful to present time in this country, I replaced some characters:
So starting at Luke 10:30-37
Luk 10:30 Jesus replied and said, “A European man was going down from Johannesburg to Durban, and fell among hijackers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.
Luk 10:31 “And by chance an Ndebele pastor was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:32 “Likewise a Sotho person also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:33 “But a Zulu man, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,
Luk 10:34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him into his own pickup, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
Luk 10:35 “On the next day he took out two Rands and gave them to the innkeeper and said, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’
Luk 10:36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hijackers’ hands?”
Luk 10:37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
The key to the parable lies in verses 36 and 37. In verse 36, Jesus asked the lawyer, “…who proved to be a neighbour to the victim?” The lawyer replied, “The one who showed mercy toward him… “
In our South African version of the parable, it was the Zulu man who showed mercy – the Zulu man was being a neighbour to the victim. When we show mercy to anyone, we become a neighbour to them. – it’s not about WHO is MY neighbour – as much as it is about BEING a neighbour to others. I really pray the Lord will show us this truth.
Jesus said “love your neighbour as yourself…” We find it relatively easy to show mercy towards ourselves, but what about those around us. Do we show the same mercy to others as we show ourselves?
In the Lord’s eyes, and through HIS nature, showing mercy to others is unconditional – irrespective of who the person is. Showing mercy from the human perspective (in other words from our old sinful nature) is conditional. In other words, I will have mercy if the person is of a certain culture…or…I’ll show mercy if the person is the same religion as me….or… I’ll have mercy if I perceive them to be a ‘good person’. The character of God shows mercy irrespective…anywhere, anytime, any person.
When next it comes time for us to have mercy on others, lets first think how much mercy we would have for ourselves in that situation, and then apply that same mercy to others, irrespective of who they are.
So…. Let’s spend less time worrying and arguing about WHO our neighbour is and more time focussing on BEING a good neighbour.
Thank you for sharing this time with me – may the Master share much of His heart with you this coming week. Until next time…bless you all.
From: “…time with the Master…”
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“…time with the Master…”