Monday, November 7, 2011

And Who Is My Neighbor?

Yesterday at church we sang a song that included this:
"Praise to the lamb that was slain
Praise to the Father who gave His son away
The proof of love, the price of grace
You traded all to take my place
And died for me so I can be a child of God"

And I pondered Him.
That when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He answered,
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
and with all thy soul, 
and with all thy mind. 
This is the great and first commandment. 
And a second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 
On these two commandments the whole law hangs, and the prophets."

And then of course, the question from our representative of mankind, "And who is my neighbor?"

Have you ever thought about how the Father saw His enemies?
That seeing our condition --
our blasphemous iniquity,
our adulterous fidelity,
and our religious hypocrisy --
that He gave His Son away in order that we might be saved.

The Father did not write the Law, so much as He is the Law.
The Law reveals His nature.
He gave His Son because He is the Law.
The Law demands justice, and the Law commands love.
And He is both.
He is the justice of God, and the love of God.

All His motivations in His dealings with men fulfill that which we cannot fulfill.
Love your enemies.
Do good to those who hate you.
Bless those who curse you.
Pray for those who despitefully use you.
Do unto others what you would have them do to you.
Give to those who ask of you.
If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he's thirsty, give him a drink.

Jesus said, "If you have seen me, you've seen the Father."
And consider what we see when we look at Him --
a man who was reviled without reviling again;
a man praying for his persecutors;
a man feeding hungry people;
giving to those who asked of Him;
touching the untouchables;
who forgives not seven times, but seventy times seven;
whose obedience to the Father was unto death;
whose love for His brethren was until the end.

The Father gave His Son.
His Beloved Son, in Whom He is well-pleased.
Would I give my son for my enemy?
Not likely.
I would sacrifice my enemy for my son.

But not Him.
He loves His neighbor, and His neighbor is His enemy.
And He valued His enemy with the same value as Himself --
giving up His most precious possession to buy back haters.
And I was His enemy.

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