“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18)
The end of this verse – I am the Lord – is a command, it’s non-negotiable, God has spoken. The standard is high. Then ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself’. Last year I followed a self compassion programme. It was eye-opening. This verse hit me like a ton of bricks. If I love my neighbour the way I love myself, we will not be on speaking terms for long! God loves me just as I am, but I don’t. Before I can obey this command I need to see myself the way my loving and forgiving and merciful God sees me. Otherwise, how can I treat others with the love that bears no grudge or seeks no vengeance?
In Europe, we are close to a war and it is easy to take sides, however, it started with not loving a neighbour. So although we know what has happened is wrong, we can also look at ourselves and how we treat others. We can imagine that it has an impact not just on one person but on how that person will react to the next person. The butterfly effect. Finally, we can look to our perfect role model, Jesus. We can see his reaction to people who were his enemies. And we can imagine what it must be like to trust our Father for our lives even in the face of tremendous adversity.
Prayer of Response:
Father God, you see me as precious in your eyes and you love my neighbor just as much as you love me. Help me see myself through your eyes and help me see my neighbor in the same way. When faced with adversity, may I trust in your unfailing love and know your presence beside me. When I am unfairly treated, may I remember you were too. And may I lay all my struggles at your feet to free myself to love others as you first loved me. Amen
Questions to Ponder:
Faced with a difficult situation:
- How do we talk to ourselves?
- How would we talk to a friend in the same situation?
- How would we talk to a child?
- And how would God talk to us?
—Submitted by Lis Ho
Lis lives in Lyon, France and is currently in transition in lots of life areas! She has been teaching English for the last three years and is now going to train as a Pilates instructor for ‘older’ adults, like herself. She loves cycling, walking, swimming and fellowship with friends. A member of the LSM team in Lyon, as well as a student at the school, she has felt a calling to women in ministry for some years now and is enjoying time with different groups of women. She is mother to an almost 18 year old son who has one more year at school (and home). She is seeking God’s guidance in all these areas. ‘I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.’ 2 Tim 1:12