Monday, January 16, 2012

Love One Another

Written by Hatzier:

“Also take no heed unto all the words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee; for often times also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself hast cursed others.”  (Eccl 7:21, 22)

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”  (Romans 12:18)

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:21)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”  (Matt 5:7)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of Elohiym.”  (Matt 5:9)

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”  (1 Peter 3:8)

“And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of Elohiym is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”  (Romans 5:5)

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Charity never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”  (1 Cor 13:4-8)

“Let all bitterness, and wrath and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as Elohiym for Mashiyach’s sake hath forgiven you.”  (Eph 4: 31, 32)

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of Elohiym; and every one that loveth is born of Elohiym, and knoweth Elohiym.  He that loveth not knoweth not Elohiym, for Elohiym is love.  In this was manifested the love of Elohiym toward us, because that Elohiym sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  Herein is love, not that we loved Elohiym, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if Elohiym so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No man hath seen Elohiym at any time.  If we love one another, Elohiym dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.”  (1 John 4:7-12)

“And we have known and believed the love that Elohiym hath to us.  Elohiym is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in Elohiym, and Elohiym in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment:  because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  We love Him, because He first loved us.  If a man saith I love Elohiym, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love Elohiym Whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth Elohiym love his brother also.”  (1 John 4:16-21)

Charity is, without a doubt, the single most important part of the Christian life.  The first and second commandments are all about love.  Charity is more important than sacrifice, knowledge and prophecy, or even faith (1 Cor 13:1-13).  Elohiym has given us growth in this area, and my vision is that we could all continue in that direction—abounding more and more.

When we speak, that our words could have fervent charity mixed in; in our thoughts, in our attitudes, in our doctrines, in our dealings with souls (in and out of the fellowship), in all we do Elohiym’s heart is that His love would be an important—an integral—part.  Think about it, pray about it, speak of it, live it.  “Let all things be done with charity.”

It is true that love is not the only absolute.  It must be clarified and defined by the commandments given in the Word, which teach us how to love. 

Speaking the truth, lifting up the standard, living uprightly, being a good example; working for peace, order and unity, being gentle, kind, patient, longsuffering, forgiving…..praying for others, caring about the needs of others, etc.  All these, and more specifics, are there to be read about.  Serving Elohiym is all about love thus defined.

I have zeal to encourage everyone to focus on and emphasize these two things:  a high standard of righteousness and the love of Elohiym (for us, and through us).

None of this is to be used as a ruler to judge others, mind you.  It is intended only as a means to provoke each of us to examine ourselves.  Others may, perhaps, fall short in various ways, or may cause us trials.  We may think they’re being too hard, too critical, or inconsistent, or misjudging something, or making less than the best decisions.  Or peradventure we think they are being grumpy, unthankful or unwilling to help enough.  In other words, in our opinion, they aren’t being charitable.

I have found that not being patient with these sorts of faults, even if they are there, seems to be more displeasing to Elohiym than those faults themselves.  On two separate occasions, Yeshua strongly reproved me for my attitude, but did not reprove the souls I was getting problems from.  

Perhaps it is a double transgression—not only was I not being charitable, but I was adding hypocrisy by being uncharitable towards someone else’s lack of charity.  Notice how Paul reproves the brothers who didn’t take wrong before he reproved the brothers who did the wrong (1 Cor 6:6-8).  

Remember that it isn’t our job to make sure that others are being charitable; rather, it is our job to make sure we are being charitable.

There are, to be sure, certain things that need to be reported and dealt with, such as slander, blasphemy against Yeshua and other deadly things.  If someone’s salvation could be endangered by their actions, if they are encouraging rebellion, promoting sin, involving others in some sort of unrighteousness, carnality, etc.—then, for the sake of their salvation it needs to be reported.  But such incidents are relatively rare.  Souls in the church, most of the time, really desire to do what is right.  Therefore, we should treat exceptions as exceptions, and not as the norm.

Thus, as far as how to deal with this matter, I offer some suggestions:

1.   Try not to notice others shortcomings.  “Take no heed unto all……”  Don’t dwell on things souls say or do which you dislike.  This subject is hard for me to write about, because I don’t like to even think about others having faults; and, I like even less the thought of saying something that would make somebody else think about the faults of others.  You know, when you care enough about someone, you naturally tend to overlook their mistakes (1 Peter 4:8).  You don’t notice them much, and you forget them quickly.

2.   Stick to noticing our own shortcomings.  “For often times also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise……”  Remember that souls operate based on how they see things—we do that, others do it; you can’t get around it.  Sometimes, we know, our own judgment has been off, causing us to make a mistake.  Concentrate, therefore, on getting our own heart right; make it a point to be a good example.  Notice our own self, and our own walk with Yeshua.  “It is my job to make sure I am being charitable.”

3.   If it is obvious someone is erring, still make sure our own heart is right.  Have we prayed for that soul?  Could we say, sincerely, that we love them?  If not, our own heart isn’t right and we thus have no business holding anything against them.  If so—if we can say we really love them and we have prayed for them, we probably would not want to hold anything against them.

If the soul is someone whom Elohiym has placed over us, and if the problem isn’t anything gravely important, we would do well to just forget about it.  ‘The milk’s going to spoil!’  So, let it spoil—who cares?  Yeshua will provide more.  ‘What if, after that, we get reproved for doing something that causes the milk to spoil?’  Then try harder next time, and take reproof humbly.  ‘Isn’t that inconsistent?’  ‘Isn’t that unfair?’  Whether it is or not, I don’t really care.  Yeshua gave me this last year:  The important thing is not how others treat me, but rather how I respond.

Whether others have faults is not something I like to think about.  What matters to me is to love and to be a good example.  Moreover, what matters to Yeshua is that we love.  I can be of the attitude, ‘How dare you step on my toes?’  Or, I can be of the attitude that my toes are not as important as the brothers and sisters I care about.  I don’t wish to hold myself in great importance; I just want to love.

If the soul is, instead, someone placed under our care who is erring, we still need to make sure our heart is right in order to help them if necessary, or ignore their fault if necessary.  Pray about it.  “Slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  Spend, and be spent, for them.  Again, if it is not something of grave seriousness, we need to be willing to bear with them; if it is grave, we should examine ourselves to see if we really desire for them to turn.  This will all be easier, of course, if we really love them (see 2 Cor 12:15).  

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

If we would all make the most important thing to just love in a godly fashion—to love Yeshua, love our brothers and sisters, love those outside of the fellowship to whom we witness or with whom we deal; to love our adversaries—rather than concentrate on how others treat us, or how other brothers and sisters are not doing what we think they should be doing (or the way we think it should be done), or how right we are—all strife would evaporate.  So would ill feelings.  Persecution would not; as long as we live uprightly, we will always have that around to give us opportunities to love those who rage against us (‘charity-ups’; ‘patience-ups’).  Mistakes will not all be gone, either, because people sometimes wrong others without meaning to.

We do not need to always have a better way to do things.  If we are not being asked to do something unrighteous which, in my experience, is uniformly the case, then we should just submit ourselves to those whom Elohiym has set over us (Hebrews 13:7).  Adamantly having to do things the way we ourselves think is the best or most efficient manner, against the wishes of those in charge, or going along but having a grumpy attitude; complaining, speaking against it, etc., none of this is good.  It’s placing our understanding of ‘best’ or ‘most efficient’ above the need for charity.  And we may be right and sometimes meekly offered suggestions are helpful. 

But arguing or strife or anger or complaining or speaking evil is never worth the effort.  Some things simply do not matter.  What always matters is to love.

Even if, and this is important—it isn’t a minor side thought—even if we are wronged, can we “take it patiently” (1 Peter 2:19-21)?  If we do well, and suffer for it, or get trouble for it, can we still rise above and beyond the petty things like being wronged and just love back?  And not out of a ‘one-upsmanship’ attitude that says, “Well, I’ll just be bigger than you and be nice, so there!”  But out of a pure heart; just ignore it, forget about it and go on being charitable.

If you miss this, you’ll miss the whole point of what I desire to get across.  We don’t need to always defend ourselves.  In the long run, we will have a better name with Yeshua if we just bear all things and continue to love, no matter what.  Indefatigable, unstoppable, relentless charity; a love that refuses to yield to strife or anger, even when wronged.

Again, we can call to remembrance the fact that people whom we do truly love can, and do, make mistakes or wrong us, etc., and we pass over it.  We may not even notice it.  With Yeshua’s help, we can treat all people like that.  Yeshua didn’t merely tolerate us when we were lost—He loved us.  

We then should also love our adversaries and people we witness to, though they be spiritually hurting (not compromising our convictions or letting down the standard; not going along with unrighteousness or carnality, but yet always being kind).

How much more should we love our brothers and sisters, those seeking to follow Yeshua, though they be in trials and are trying us?  That’s when they need our mercy—His love flowing through us.  ‘That soul is being mean!”  Why do you not take the wrong?  “That soul said such and such to me!”  Take no heed unto all words spoken.  “But they aren’t being charitable!”  Does that change the way we are to behave ourselves?  Does it change the love Elohiym has for us?  Does it change the fact that we are to have His love flowing through us?  Well, then, it doesn’t matter, does it?  Let’s pray together that Yeshua will help all of us to love—just love—no matter what.

“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  (John 13:34-35)

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160