1. God's Kingdom Is Built on Love
Jesus made clear a very important truth, that our second greatest commandment as Christians is to love others as we love ourselves.
“The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)
Notice, Jesus didn’t just say to love others. He specified how. We love by the same measure we love ourselves. Natural to the human ability is self-preservation. We take care of our needs such as food, shelter, clothing, using the bathroom. We know how to put in the time and effort to look after ourselves.
Of course there are always exceptions, but Jesus is pointing to the fact that how we treat ourselves has an impact on how we treat others. And looking after ourselves comes much more naturally than tending to someone else.
Jesus’ words are always important, but right now serve as a convicting reminder that everyone is deserving of love. There are some who agree with loving others, but discriminate in who they love. This is adverse to Jesus’ teaching. He was asked by a lawyer to determine who Jesus considered to be the others or the “neighbor” in His commandment (Luke 10:29).
To answer, Jesus told him the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
This story of two different people living in two different cultures, but still being able to express love is powerful. The Samaritans and the Jews were socialized into despising one another, and yet Jesus says that the Samaritan showcased love.
The Kingdom of God recognizes the need to love people regardless of political party, skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, or even past mistakes.
God loves us all and we should show the same love to each other.
2. In God's Kingdom We Seek Understanding
“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness." (James 1:19-20)
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)
If the year of 2020 revealed any uncomfortable truth to us, we saw that many have an uncanny knack for putting down others. Discussions about politics have been rendered into shouting matches and seeing who can insult the best.
This way of conversing has infiltrated families and even the church, as people try best to posture themselves as more virtuous than the other. Whenever we fall into this pit of poor communication, we have lost the Christian ideal. And non-believers should take note and call us out.
Scripture makes clear that human anger cannot go about accomplishing God’s will, not when that anger is used to deal out wrath to others. Using violence instead of soft words, or speaking instead of listening, creates negative effects.
When Christians display God’s Kingdom on Earth in conversation, we listen well even in instances of disagreement. We use our words to foster mutually beneficial talks, we comprise, we use words to heal, and we show love to those with whom we engage.
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