Posted By Nan

Luke 10:30-37.

How do you show others what God’s love is? How do you demonstrate to someone who has never met God what His love looks like?
It doesn’t look like hateful messages telling those who you have judged to be sinners that they are going to hell.
It doesn’t look like moving homeless people on as they desperately try to find somewhere to sleep or rest and not offering them any mercy.
It doesn’t look like judging others.
It doesn’t look like supporting political parties who treat refugees harshly.
It doesn’t look like not caring for the poor.
It doesn’t look like sticking to your little church or Christian fellowship group and not reaching out to others who need a kind word.
It doesn’t look like most things we do that are about self or judgementalism.
Today, I have used the Bible verse from Luke 10 to reflect on. I love this passage. It speaks of the greatest love that we can show for each other.
A man, lying beaten and helpless by the side of the road. As he begs for help a priest passes by. This is a religious leader. A man who should reflect God in all he says and does. Yet he crosses to the other side of the road and scurries on.
Another man came along the road. The wounded man looked desperately at him to save him. This man was also a fellow countryman. A Levite. Surely this man would be full of mercy and save him. Yet he also crossed to the other side of the road to avoid the man and scurried away.
Then another man came along the road. He was not an Israelite. He was the hated enemy – a Samaritan. He was considered to be inferior in every way to Israelites. He was someone Israelites did not associate with. Yet this man saw the wounded man and was filled with compassion for him. He stopped and offered help. He held the man tenderly and bandaged up his wounds. He gently lifted the man onto his donkey. Then he took the man to an inn where they both stayed the night and the man continued to care for him. In the morning he paid the innkeeper to care for the wounded man and promised to pay for any extra costs his care incurred.
Jesus told this story to illustrate His second command that “you love our neighbour as well as you love yourself” (v27). He wanted to demonstrate what a neighbour was. It must have been galling to those listening to hear a hated Samaritan described as a good neighbour. But it was an important point. Our neighbours are not just those it is convenient to love. Not just those who are like us. Our neighbours are often those who are hard to love. Those who make us uncomfortable, who are different, who require an effort to communicate with, who take up our time. Neighbours come in all shapes and forms and we must never become like the Priest and the Levite who are more caught up in the law than in the love of Jesus. Remember the first command Jesus gave was to love. Love God. Then the second was to love. Love your neighbour and yourself.
Make the choice daily to let go of the anger you feel towards others. Hand it over to God. Ask for His help when the anger and hurt is overwhelming and wait patiently for His healing. One beautiful way I have seen it put is to “release your investment in staying hurt and angry”.
Make the choice daily to show love to others. To think kindly of others. To not rush to judge and punish, but instead to pause and consider the other person. Sometimes others do things because they aren’t nice, but there is usually something underlying that. Set boundaries with love and don’t rush to condemn. Remember you are a sinner too.
Ensure your actions are consistent with the mercy and love Jesus showed during His time on earth.
Avoid legalism. Read the Bible for yourself and seek God to understand it. Don’t rely on others to interpret the Bible for you. Think for yourself. You do not ask others to interpret your relationships with your friends so why ask others to interpret your relationship with God?
As you walk through your day. Take the time to breathe in God’s grace. And when you breathe out. Make sure you breathe out God’s grace. God’s grace is a gift for all. He gives us grace to share with others. Make sure you do. That is more powerful a demonstration of God’s love than all the words you can use.

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