December 12 - 17
Monday, December 12 – “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) No discussion of love would be complete without a reference to the Golden Rule. When thinking about loving someone, simply ask yourself: Am I giving them permission to be themselves? Just as I want others to give me permission to be myself? Am I treating others as I want to be treated? Or am I treating others as I deem they deserve to be treated?
Tuesday, December 13 – “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11) As a follower of Jesus your citizenship is not found in this world. Yes, you are living in this world, as a citizen of a country. But you are a foreigner in this world. You’re an immigrant, in exile from your promised land. As a foreigner and an exile in this world, your challenge is to voluntarily hold yourself back from anything improper or unhealthy to you or to anyone around you. This is the definition of “abstain”.
Wednesday, December 14 – “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:39) Here are a few things to think about today. First, these are the words of Jesus, in response to someone asking him what is the greatest commandment. Second, “your neighbor” means so much more than simply the people who live on your street. And third, following this teaching of Jesus requires you to, first and foremost, love yourself.
Thursday, December 15 – “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9) We made a pact to stop shoulding on each other. So, I will simply say to you today, you know better. You know better than to treat human beings badly. You know better than to withhold love from someone because they are a foreigner. You know better because you know how it feels to be oppressed and to be rejected because of your race, your nationality, your ethnicity, your skin color, your accent, your gender or your last name. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner. And you know how you want to be treated.
Friday, December 16 – “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:29) Immigration and citizenship policies are the business of the government. So, vote your conscience in every election. Loving your neighbor as yourself is the follower of Jesus’ business. So, stop all the hate. Stop all the rude posts. Stop all the condemnation. Start loving the foreigners in your midst. Just as Jesus first loved you. For you were once a foreigner. Maybe not in Egypt as the Hebrew people once were. But you were a foreigner from God, because of your sin.
Saturday, December 17 – “’So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 3:5) This is God talking, through Malachi, using courtroom imagery. Notice that depriving foreigners of justice is lumped in with “sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers”. Why is this? Because if you deprive any human being of justice you are making yourself God. And you aren’t God. That’s why God is “testifying against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers” and the rest.