Sunday, 28 July 2019
1 Timothy 1:5 "Now the goal of this command is love from of a pure heart and a clear conscience and a genuine faith."
Why does Paul instruct Timothy in such a way? There were people who were trying to complicate the simple truth of God. God is love. But you already knew that because you have read the Bible.
1 John 4:7 "Loved ones, let us love one another, for love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love."
How complicated is love? Not at all. Love simply means prioritizing God's destiny for someone else. That does not mean being a doormat or allowing ourselves to be victims of abuse. If someone else thinks their "need" is to abuse me, I'm not to elevate that imaginary need to make it a priority in my life.
God showed His love for the world according to John 3:16 by sacrificing His only begotten Son for our benefit. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." His sacrifice allowed the world to reach its destiny.
Too many of our "friends" (I have to put "friends" in quotes because they are not really friends) are like Job's friends. They are ready to accuse and abuse in the name of justice. Aren't we glad that God is perfect? He never condemns us into anything. Satan and his demons do, but not God and His angels.
God convicts while Satan condemns. They look amazingly similar to the outsider, but inside conviction builds us up (brings us closer to God), while condemnation tears us down and separates us from God.
Repentance is always a part of perfect love. The opportunity to repent means having the slate wiped clean. Romans 8:1 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua." Can we receive God's forgiveness? Isaiah 43:25 "I, I am the One who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and will not remember your sins."
One last word about forgiveness before I'm done. My rabbi, Dan Juster, teaches there is transactional forgiveness and non-transactional forgiveness. Transactional forgiveness is when 2 people (or all the parties involved) both ask forgiveness and do forgive each other. This is ideal.
Less than ideal, but still important is non-transactional forgiveness in which only one party to a dispute (or less than every party) both forgives and asks forgiveness. If we do not forgive, we are giving the unforgiven person a lease to live rent free in our mind while drive us crazy on a continuous basis. That's a horrible option.
One last word ... sometimes when we try to ask forgiveness it gives the other person a fresh opportunity to convince us how wrong we were. This is just more abuse, so let's don't go there.
That said, don't wait. Be quick to forgive and quick to be healed and to move on.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,