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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Category

Love

Be Ye Kind One to Another Part 10

Ephesians 4_32

Ephesians 4:26

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

I want to preface this post by clearly saying that as I point that bony little finger at all of you, there still remain another three pointing backwards at myself.

Can our should Christians ever, ever get angry? I hope we have clearly established that kindness should be the Christian way, and that anger should not. Still, the question remains: should Christians ever show anger?

This question in today’s world has even more significance in the Christian’s life, because the world itself is in an angry state. Governments are mad at each other; politicians are mad at each other; at least one politician is heading toward possible election on a platform on anger; people on the street are angry at each other. People are angry about injustice, perceived or real. People are occupying Wall Street, rioting in the cities, and beheading their enemies. People are angry, and the world is angry.

Anger has precedents in the Bible. Moses and Jesus both showed anger on more than one occasion. Jesus’ anger in the temple inspired the title of this post, in fact. Which raises and interesting point. People, me included, have been known to use Jesus’ conduct in the temple flailing a whip and tipping over tables to justify our own anger and acting out.

Well, there are indications that the possibility for appropriate Christian anger exists:

Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

That might possibly be telling us that we can be angry and not sin. I say possibly because frankly not everybody sees it that way. I do think a Christian can be and show anger in appropriate situations and not sin. So, I’ll just share a few thoughts.

We are not Jesus. Next time you start yelling at your co worker, and use Jesus as your example and justification, step back and examine yourself. I have heard it said, “Well, I was mad, but it was Godly anger!” No, it wasn’t. Unless you suddenly became God. We don’t have the discernment or good sense to really know when our anger is righteous. Generally speaking, erring on the side of shutting up will serve us better.

Anger is actually a normal reaction to certain situations. Adrenaline, “fight or flight.” comes to mind here. There are situations of stress, danger or challenge which may very well produce feeling of anger or tension. That is normal, and God made us that way. If a 300 pound brute suddenly appears trying to snatch on of our kids away in his car, a certain amount of anger might be needed and appropriate to deal with that particular situation.

It’s never about us. Righteous anger, if there is any possibility of it actually being righteous, is never about us our our needs, goals or desires. People are mean and people are irritating: so what? We have to get over it. Turn the other cheek and all of that, remember? Something to remember here is that anger is the temptation, and action is the sin. As we talked about earlier, anger is a perfectly normal reaction physically and emotionally to many situations life puts us in. The line between temptation and sin then becomes one between our feelings and our actions. In this case, there is almost no case for acting out in anger on our own behalf.

This never means we have to roll over belly up. The world, a very angry place, is also full of very angry Christians. In 99.9999999 percent of these cases, these angry Christians are simply in error and sin.  On the other hand, our injunction to not sin on anger does not mean we just lay down and let the world run us over. Can we defend our faith? Of course. Can we out and out tell others that they are simply wrong in what they say? Of course, when we present Biblical truth. Can we confront sin openly and honestly? Of course, because again that is Biblical truth. Can we confront the co worker who throws us under the bus at every opportunity? Of course. Can we confront that person who is spreading rumors about us? Of course. Does that mean we have to allow angry God haters to rampage around uncontested to destroy the faith of our brothers and sisters? Nope.

Being angry at a situation does not mean I get to be angry at people. I find myself upset about numerous things. Abortion, same sex marriage, rampant poverty in our cities and countryside are things that come to mind. I am angry about anger; the fact that people are so mean ticks me off. Anger is how I feel about these situations, not what I do. Anger is the temptation, acting out on it is the sin. We should find some things bothersome and agitating to us; God hates these things, we should also. It’s a distinction that I hope I need not explain. We may hate these things, but we simply don’t have the right to hate the practitioners of them. Period and get over it.

Jesus is the solution to anger. I hope everybody knew that one was coming. Jesus is the solution to our own anger. Through His presence in our lives and the indwelling of The Holy Spirit, we can tame our own anger, if we allow Him to work in us. By following the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can discern when our anger is proper and when it is not. Anytime we truly follow that leading, we will not err.

All the stuff we are angry about? Jesus is the solution to every bit of that as well. And that is our job. Our job is not to protest, complain and rail against the things we see wrong about the world and in the world. Next time you open your mouth and complain in anger about the sin and injustice in the world, just shut it. Then think, pray, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Then open your mouth back up and tell one of the people you are angry at about Jesus.

Be Ye Kind One to Another Part 9

Ephesians 4_32

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Telling people about Jesus is mean; if we love folks, we certainly would not tell about things like sin, hell, Jesus as the only way to God, or the joys of Christian living. Right? Well, or course that is NOT right. It is, nonetheless, what the world would say that Christians should do. We should just shut up.

Telling people Jesus is the only way is exclusionary to all of those other religions!

Hell? How can you tell me something so horrible as that?

What do you mean I sin? Don’t judge me!

How dare you say you are right and I am wrong!

That’s what we are expected to believe, and the onslaught of that mindset is everywhere, every day. Sadly the largest purveyor of this sentiment is not particularly the non believing, atheist world, but the professing “church.” Every Sunday around the country, thousands of people gather to hear how to improve their lives, how to improve their marriages, how to have successful kids, and a many other topics. We are a religion of “seeker friendly” churches. We want the crowds, so we tickle their ears.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

The time is not coming; the time is here; the time is now.

Be kind, be kind, be kind. Love, love, love. That is a good message and I love that message. I write on it quite often; in fact if readers recall this small series is entitled Lettuce Be Kind-Let Us be Kind. We are commanded to do so.

So, is it kind to preach a Gospel of sin, redemption, and salvation? Is it unkind to share honestly the consequences of rejection of God? The world, including a huge bulk of the visible church believes that it is.

Rather than clog up this with my own words, I wanted to share the following:

“I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

“I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”

Who said that? Some famous evangelist or noted preacher? Some great commentary writer? Well, no that’s a quote from atheist Penn Jillette, of the magician duo, Penn & Teller.(and a pretty funny guy honestly)

If I knew a truck was coming toward you and you disagreed, is it mean for me to drag you out of the way?

If you were drowning, and I withheld tossing you a life preserver over fear you would be insulted by my saying you can’t swim, what would that say about me?

Christians here is the deal. Sharing the Gospel is why we are even here in the first place. Share it in love and kindness, but share it. That is our job, and our commandment. Do people always like it? No, but get over it. Are people sometimse unpleasant in response? Yes, but get over it.

It’s NOT kind to fail to share the Gospel if Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world. It certainly would not be kind to allow our friend to get hit by that truck or sink under that water for the last time, and it is certainly not kind to allow them to perish spiritually either.

One last question here:

If we claim to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, yet don’t love the people around us enough to share that with them, do we really believe what we say we believe?

Be Ye Kind One to Another Part 8

Ephesians 4_32

Luke 6: 27-38

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Being kind is the difference. The difference in what? Well, it’s the difference between faith in action and faith that is non existent or perhaps just dead. It should be a a clearly observable between one who says he or she follows Jesus Christ and others around him or her. It should be. As we see clearly taught in the passage above, we are to love even those who hate and despise us in a way that is different. We are to be kind to them, not retaliate against them.

This is just a side note regarding some word usage in the above passage. The word used for love above is agape, not phileo. I think that is a very important thing to consider as we move onward here. Agape, of course is the all encompassing type of love that God has for us. It is a love that acts regardless of feelings or the actions of another. Phileo, on the other hand, is the type of care we have for a friend who we feel a close personal relationship with. We are to possess love that acts, regardless of our feeling towards a person. We don’t have to be their friend, but we do have to love them.

I hope we all agree from the start, that we are supposed to be different. There are things that should definitively set believers apart from the rest of the world, and this is one of them.

It is how people know we believe

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

If we don’t, we might NOT believe

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

It is among the fruits of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

We can do it because we are not the old man; we are new creations

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This is not the way of the world is it? What does the world say?

Tit for tat

You scratch my back, and I will scratch yours.

Morality is based on empathy and reciprocation!

Do onto others BEFORE they do onto you!

As long as I get mine!

Now, what does our Lord Jesus have to say? He had some things to say about this subject for sure.

Luke 6:32-24 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

Jesus clearly teaches that everybody loves the ones who do for them. If I only scratch the back that scratches mine, I am no better than the rest of the world. If I look to “get”the other person before they “get” me, I am no better than the rest of the world. If I only behave morally for in the hopes others will behave that way toward me, I am no better than the rest of the world.

What, then is  our expectation? Jesus covered that as well.

Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Turn the other cheek. Love your enemy. Be kind to your enemy. Go out of your way to be kind to your enemy. If we don’t, then who are we really?

Be Ye Kind One to Another Part 7

Ephesians 4_32

Luke 6: 27-38

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

In our last post we had made the observation that we are commanded to do more than just bear, or to tolerate our enemies; we are to actively be kind to them. How do we know this? Well, Jesus said, “love your enemies.” Since we know true Biblical love is love in action, that inherently means we have to take action, even towards our enemies, to put love into action. In other words, be kind to them.  “Do good to them which hate you.”

We closed that post with the statement, “Well, that’s pretty lousy, isn’t it?”  First, none of God’s direction is lousy, okay? That is NOT what I meant. I just meant that we really don’t want to be nice to people who hate us. We really don’t even want to tolerate them. What we want to go is get them back! So, it’s lousy from the standpoint that it goes contrary to everything we find in us naturally. But, that is the point isn’t it? We are not supposed to be our natural selves; we are supposed to be different selves upon our salvation.

We are new creatures right?

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

So, at this point we agree that: God tell us to do it, and we can do it through the power of the Holy Spirit  because He has made us new creatures. Great, now how exactly can we be nice to our enemies?

Don’t retaliate. Turn the other cheek. If a man takes your shirt, offer him your coat. That is really pretty self evident, isn’t it? On, the other hand, it must not be that self evident, as God had to write it down for us. Okay, somebody calls you the biggest moron on the planet; does it really accomplish anything to prove they are actually the biggest?

Humanize your enemy. Dehumanizing an enemy is the easiest way for us to justify hating them. We hate ISIS, we hate homosexuals, we hate abortionists, and the list goes on and one. Guess what? Those people are NOT our enemies. God doesn’t hate them, so we don’t get to either. Does that mean I support terrorism, gay marriage, or abortion? Well, no, it does not. I still don’t get to hate the practitioners of those t hings.

On a more personal level, considering the human side of any attack on you might just diffuse the entire situation. Even though there is rarely a good reason to attack another, there might be a driving reason. Whether that reason be right or wrong, it may still be there. It’s not that hard. Has somebody gotten in your face for no reason? Ask them: Brother(or sister), what have I done to offend you? Notice I didn’t say ask them what their problem is.

Go out of your way, with purpose, to simply find something kind to do to one who hates you.

Boss got it in for you? Work harder

That lady at church turns up her nose and never speaks? Make sure you go out of your way to be friendly to her. Now, look, motivation matters here. There is a fellow at our church who has not spoken to me in eight years. I used to go out of my way to say hi and shake his hand. Then I realized I was doing it to bug him. That’s not what I mean here, okay?

Teacher at school have in in for you? Be a model student.

And on it goes, get it?

Be Ye Kind One to Another Part 6

Ephesians 4_32

Love Your Enemies

Luke 6: 27-38

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

As we have worked our way through this topic, we have established some things I hope we are all in agreement on

Kindness matters to God; He talks about it in His Word a lot

His Word tells us how to do it, and if we listen it will transform us

The norm today, in our society and culture, is NOT to behave nicely

The command is clear, the guidance is plain, yet we consistently reject these teachings and go our own way, which is to follow the culture into me ism. One of my favorite writers, J. Vernon McGee had the following to say about this teaching of Jesus

 What I am saying may sound revolutionary, and it is, but it is what Jesus Christ said, friend. There are those who tell me that they are following Jesus. They do no dare to follow Him. Read what He says in this chapter, and believe me, it will remove the cloak of hypocrisy and peel off the skin of any man

Ouch eh? On that note, letbegin to break down what Jesus was teaching here, shall we?

One thing I got clearly from reading and study on this passage, is that we don’t have a list of rules here that we are simply to follow by rote. This is not a punch list where if we get all the rules punched we win a prize. This guidance is to reflect the overall condition of our hearts. Our changed hearts produce changed actions. A next thing to keep in mind, is that we can expect people to become angry with us; we can expect harsh words and even harsh action. If we use Jesus as our example, why on earth would we expect anything different?

So, we can expect to be sometimes not treated as nicely as perhaps we would like. Who are our enemies, anyway? Well, let’s look at who it’s not; our enemies are not: sinners, politicians, atheists, or other religions or faiths. Enemies are those who are directly trying to harm us, or those in our circle of concern. That makes this teaching even tougher, doesn’t it? Well, we can take this further easily. We aren’t just to tolerate our enemies, or not retaliate against our enemies. We are to actually take steps to be NICE to them. Well, that’s pretty lousy, isn’t it?

Be Ye Kind One to Another Part 5

Ephesians 4_32

Luke 6: 27-38

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Kindness matters to God. Our behaving in a loving way to others matters to God. Forgiving others matters to God. If it did not matter, He would not have told us so often in His Word.

The above passage is quite complete, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, is one of my most used “go to” passages in God’s Word.

Is the description above how we are today? Well, now; we know that it is not. To get a clearer picture of how we are today, let’s take a trip back to Matthew Chapter 5, where Jesus delivers the same lesson with some additional comments.

Matthew  5:38-48

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The two phrases I want to key in on are the following:

38Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

What makes these passages notable is Jesus’ use of the phrase it hath been said. What the really means is, “Okay, the Old Testament Scripture kind of said what you say it said, but you have taken it and twisted in around to suit your own needs.

An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth was never meant to be a code for personal revenge. This was part of the judicial code in the Mosaic Law. This was simply part of the law of the land of the day. This was official conduct and action, not personal conduct and action. It was never used in the context of interpersonal relationships, but always in the context of a civil judge presiding. It was no more than the law following the example we see even today, that the punishment should fit the crime.

The problem was, that the Pharisees had taken that snippet of Mosaic Law and used it to justify and give the okay to their concept of extracting personal revenge on their enemies.

Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. Indeed, God commanded us to love our neighbor. He commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves in fact:

Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Which of course references:

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

What is missing in those two passages? Yep, it’s that whole  and hate thing enemy thing.! God never said that. Again, the was just a conclusion drawn over the years by those studying and writing about the Law, and adding volumes to it I might add. “Hey, God says love your neighbor. He never mentions our enemies. That must mean it’s okay to hate our enemies!

So again, which one are we today? Clearly, in most of modern culture, we are far more like the Pharisees of that day than the actual standard God originally had, or the clarified lesson Jesus taught.

What’s in it for me?

Payback is a ______!

I’m gonna get you sucka!

It’s my money and I want it now!

I’ve got rights!

That’s us isn’t it? The problem is, that is our sinful selves; it is not the selves we should be as new creatures in Jesus Christ. As we continue on, we will look closely at what that actually means.

Be Ye Kind One to Another Part 4

Ephesians 4_32

Luke 6: 27-38

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

In my personal Bible, I have this passage highlighted, underlined, boxed out with an outline, and even have stars up at the top and down at the bottom.I do my best to read it every single day at some point. If I fail to actually read it, I try to think about it and meditate on it some. Why you ask? Well, because left unattented and unminded I frankly tend to be a jerk. I tend strongly towards grumpiness, extreme seriousness, being overbearing, and being quite insistent that my way is the only acceptable way.

I am not, however, alone it this matter. In fact, my inspiration to do this came after attending the funeral of one of my favorite Uncles, my Uncle Billy. Now, my Uncle Billy and I were very fond of each other, and he always seemed especially fond of me. The Uncle Billy I know was the kindest, gentlest, and sweetest guy on the planet. Apparently, according to family lore, this was not always the case. According to family lore, provided by his siblings, Billy was just not that nice as a young man. It is reported that this was just not general run of the mill not niceness, but genuine meanness gravitating towards semi cruelty.

But, if you were to ask any person who knew him what they thought about my uncle, the answers would across the board be such: kind, gentle, always willing to lend a helping hand, loves everybody, and on and on.

What happened? First and foremost, I suspect Jesus happened. My uncle was, like everybody in his town, raised in church. At some point, however, he became very serious about his faith. More than that occurred; what we have here is a man who not only believed in God, loved His Word, but took actual measure to implement that Word into his life as a real force.

Like many believers, Uncle Billy had a favorite Bible, one that he had had for years. It was noted up, scribbled in, and underlined in many many places. This passage was one of those places, along with some other notes to himself about the passage in question. Apparently, this scripture changed a man’s life in this case. Of course, God’s word will do that to anybody willing to place in in their hearts, into their lives, and into action.

For the next few days, we will spend some time in this passage, break it down some, and maybe even chase some rabbits. Okay, for sure we will chase some rabbits, because I love to chase rabbits!

See you next time!

Be Ye Kind One to another Part 3

Ephesians 4_32

Being kind is NOT a Suggestion

Jesus had some things to say about being kind. Actually, Jesus had some things to say about loving one another, and being kind to each other would certainly fall under that umbrella. The point here is that kindness is not something we have the right to make a choice about. It is a commandment, period. Jesus said so. Enough said, right?

Matthew 22: 37-40

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

John 13:34

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Love matters to God: a lot. How much does it matter to Him? Well, just read the above passage. Jesus taught us that the greatest commandment is to love God with everything we have. And the second greatest commandment is like it: we are to love our neighbor like we love ourselves.

Jesus didn’t say these two were the biggest suggestions; He said they are the biggest commandments! These aren’t things Jesus would have us do if we don’t mind, or if we agree or if we like it.

We are to love our neighbor just as we love ourselves, which for most of us is fairly completely. God says so. If we choose to NOT love our neighbor, we are basically thumbing our noses in the fact of Almighty God! That is really not a good idea.

That was not the only instance where Jesus made it crystal clear that to love our fellow man is not something He would really, really like us to do, but is a commandment. Jesus feels strongly about the things He has commanded us to do. In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” If we love Jesus, if we are one of His, we will strive to do as he says; in our devotional verse we learn that He commands us to love one another.

Isn’t that fairly simple? If we love Jesus, we will love one another.

How did God love us? John 3:16 tells us that:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

“The world” is from an obscure Greek word which means “everybody in the world.” Okay, it’s not really obscure; it simply means what it says. The point is, we are to love the world as well. Before anyone gets excited and starts telling me that The Bible says not to love the world, let me define. Loving the world means loving the people of the world, not the things of the world.

Just in case the point was not clear, let’s recap what Jesus had to say about His commandment to love.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

1 John 4:21And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Got all that? Seems pretty clear.

Be Ye Kind One to Another Part 2

Ephesians 4_32

What does it mean to be kind as taught in the Bible? In the English translations  of the Bible, there are many words used that might be considered synonyms for “kind.” So, pinning down exactly what we mean by kindness may take some effort. Here are just some of the words used to describe what we might see as included in the topic of “kindness” : kindness, goodness, mercy, pity, love, grace, favor ,compassion, gentleness, tenderness.

One definition I found read as following

The quality of compassion and generosity, characteristic of God’s dealings towards the weak and poor, and demanded of believers. The kindness is also shown in the words and deeds of Jesus Christ.

Be nice; be kind; show compassion and generosity. We could go deeper into many meanings of this, and maybe we will. I never really know where these series are going until I get there. For now, however, we are going to keep it simple and just deal with kindness by believers as simply being…nice to each other.

So, over the next little bit(who knows how long?) we will take various Bible passages that address this subject and break them down some and talk about them. Enjoy the ride!

Here are some thoughts and questions to ponder as we tackle this subject. Feel free to add your thoughts and perhaps they will become topic for posting.

Who are we to be kind to?

That’s easy. Everybody.

So, I have to be kind to even people I don’t like?

Yes

What if they aren’t kind to me?

Too bad.

What if I am just not kind by nature?

Silly Christian, you have a NEW nature.

Can I just do it if I want to? What if I don’t want to?

Well, it’s not a suggestion, it is a commandment.

Does being kind mean I have to get walked on?

No, not really.

Does turning the other cheek mean I have to stand by and watch a brother or sister be assaulted?

Nope, not at all.

Does being kind mean I never tell the truth? Do I just have to do and say what makes people happy?

Not at all.

Is it okay for me to ever get mad at anybody?

Maybe, depends.

How do I know what I need to do to be kind?

Read the instruction manual. (That’s The Bible)

Who is my best example of kindness to follow?

Duh. Jesus.

Well, that’s a start and I hope the brain wheels are turning. Thoughts? Suggestions? Arguments(Arguments are ok…just be….kind)

See you all Wednesday!

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