If love is too ambiguous for us to understand and display, how about we try empathy: putting ourselves in other’s shoes. I believe it’s a practical form of love. Now that I think about it, Jesus practically put himself in our shoes till the point of death. He experienced birth, and everything that life had to offer and finally death. He went through the process you and I are going through.
So, if we would also put ourselves in the shoes of others, we would react and respond differently.
As I read through the gospel books, I couldn’t help but see the selfish and hatred (lack of love) in the hearts and lives of the Pharisees.
The complained that Jesus healed people on the Sabbath. Then I wondered, “If one of the Pharisees or their child was sick and Jesus offered to heal them on a sabbath, would they have refused it because it was a sabbath? I am pretty sure they wouldn’t. Because they are selfish. As long as they were fine, it doesn’t matter who isn’t. I also wondered if the woman that was caught in adultery (John 8) was one the Pharisee’s daughter or sister, would they have brought her to Jesus to be condemned and stoned? I doubt that would have happened.
The Pharisees had it all. The good lineage, knowledge, wealth, respect and they swam in the law of Moses and religion. But that lacked the one thing that mattered most, LOVE in form of mercy, justice, and faithfulness.
Jesus rebuked them in Matthew 23:23,
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
It is then explicit why they didn’t recognize Jesus when he was right among them. This is because they didn’t know his father. They didn’t know the father of love yet they claimed to worship him. How do we even love the God we do not see if we don’t love the people we see?
Jesus said to them in John 8:42
“If God really were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own authority, but he sent me.
Just because we say or claim to worship God doesn’t mean we do. The fruit on the tree never lies.
“By their fruit, you shall know them,” says Jesus in Matthew 7:16-20. Not by their words.
I can go on to tell you how bad and hateful the Pharisees and law teachers were but the sad thing is, many of us who claim to be Christians are like that today. We read the Bible and shake our heads at the Pharisees without learning from their ways. These things were recorded not just to be read but they serve as the examples we should not do. But we read, drop our bibles and go about acting just like them.
In this Christmas season and as the new year rolls in, let’s show love to one another. Before you condemn others, consider, “If I were in that situation, would I want others to condemn me or show me mercy?”
You might say, “God forbid, I will never be in such a situation.”
I also pray you are never in any compromising or unfortunate situation. However, many who find themselves in such situations also never planned to be.
The world will be much of a better place if we put ourselves in other’s shoes rather than join others to be condemning and hateful.
Condemning and hating others will never make you a better person. You might feel like one. But remember feels are NOT always true.
So let’s be more loving, empathizing and merciful as our Lord Jesus Christ (The reason for the season).
Merry Christmas to you.
May the peace, love, and grace of Jesus be upon you and your loved ones. God Bless.
You are Eternally Loved.