, Jesus said, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12, NLT).
Have you noticed how increasingly difficult it is to be loving and kind? In the marketplace, at home, work, church, and on Facebook, many people are highly abrasive and on edge. Some are downright nasty, including many who profess to be Christian!
Undoubtedly Jesus said what He did because He knows how easy it is to be critical and mean. After all, Jesus was constantly badgered by hypercritical people who made it their mission to destroy His influence! But He resisted the urge to prove His identity and put them in their place! Even though He was falsely accused, called ugly names, and eventually killed, Jesus continued love His accusers. He loved them even to the point of praying for them from the cross.
If we want to be like Jesus, we need to accept the possibility that we will be treated like He was. If we are, will we respond as He did, or in self defense, push back with criticism and disdain?
Imagine what it would be like if every Adventist member were primarily known for their compassion and grace? In a corrosive world where animosity and hate dominates the news and Social Media, and where even Christians are doubted for their sincerity, God wants us to be different. If we were singularly focused on being like Jesus, I predict that our church parking lots would be filled each Sabbath. People would have a hard time finding seats in our services.
Those who embrace God’s ideals should be viewed as peculiar—not primarily for their day of worship, plant-based diets, or prophecy seminars. Instead, they’re peculiar for the incredible amounts of energy and money they are willing to put into loving and caring for people. In a world where division and hatred headlines the news, anyone who swims against the tide and treats others with gentleness and grace will stand out. And people will wonder, “Who are you, and what makes you this way?”
By God’s grace we can be the salt and light that Jesus described in Matthew 5:13-16. Visit us online on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whenpeoplearekind
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