At a picnic this past summer, I left my wide-brimmed, white cotton hat on a lawn chair to save my seat while going through the food line. When I returned with my loaded paper plate, someone was sitting on my hat! Shutting my mouth, I thought, That hat is washable. I'll collect it before going home. And I plopped down in a different lawn chair. That hat is now laundered and re-shaped from drying on the saucepan that it fits best — no hassle.
I don't always behave that graciously. Sadly, I sometimes snap at people or rough-ride over tender feelings.
I began to look in the Bible for the directions that Jesus left us for getting along with our fellow human beings. Here is some of what Jesus said (all from the NIV).
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)
"Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:39b)
"I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." (Matthew 5:22a)
He also gave us more of His perfect admonition.
Matthew 7:1-2 – Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Matthew 5:38-39 – You have heard that it was said, "Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth." But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Matthew 5:43-44 – You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Jesus never asked us to do what He did not do Himself. He came to earth bringing us many examples and patterns in His own gracious behaviour. He left us to enjoy the supreme example of His grace: He gave His whole life for us so that we might live with Himself forever. "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18a) — to our God, in faith.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for giving Your Son to show us the way. We pray that we will take serious note of His way for us. Please keep us praying for others, that individuals, organizations, and national governments of the world will know and become thankful for the grace of Jesus Christ, even His death on the cross. May the people of the world know Him, whom to know is life eternal, and may they follow and obey Him in His gracious way of life. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Children Of The Heavenly King" (Lyrics)