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Love doesn't lower "standards" - it IS the standard

October 27, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Romans 13:8-10

8 Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law. 9 The commandments, Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t desire what others have [Exodus 20:13-15, 17; Deuteronomy 5:17-19, 21] and any other commandments, are all summed up in one word: You must love your neighbor as yourself [Leviticus 19:18]. 10 Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is what fulfills the Law.

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Daily Reflection & Prayer

Paul sent this letter to Roman house churches (there were no big cathedrals in his day). Some were mainly Jewish, others mostly Gentile. Their standards of “righteousness” varied (cf. Romans 14:1-15:13). It was easy for them to criticize each other. Paul said the purpose of God’s law or rules is to help us love. “Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor” was a big challenge to people who disagreed. It was (and is) vital, because “Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law.”

  • Paul spoke to differences over relatively minor issues (that seemed major to those who felt strongly about them). How do you think some of them might have initially reacted to the idea that “Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law”? Do you know anyone who is genuinely loving, but in some parts of life acts in ways that you think miss the mark? Do you believe Paul was right, or was he too soft on “law breakers”?
  • How might it have altered ugly religious conflicts (e.g., the Salem witch trials, the Inquisition) if Christians had always aimed to fulfill the law by loving? How can you stand for truths that matter to you without acting in unloving ways toward those who disagree? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you grow in the inner qualities (that may not come naturally) that help you live out the law of love.
Prayer

Lord Jesus, “love is what fulfills the Law” sometimes feels too easy to me. Until, that is, I try to do it—then I realize how high and hard a standard that is. Teach me how to love the way that you love. Amen.

GPS Insights

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

Your health is one of the most important aspects of your life. Think about it. It impacts everything else that you do. Your health affects your relationships, your work, your play, and your ability to live your life to the fullest. When you do not have good health, the rest of your existence suffers. Your health is literally a matter of life and death.

Let me show you something that threatens your health. What you’re seeing below is the outer lining of Arachis Hypogaea.

Nasty, right? This can get into your digestive system. If built up, this will cause a mass that blocks your intestines. It’s unfortunate that more people are not aware of Arachis Hypogaea, because around 100 people in the United States are killed by it every single year. The terrifying part? You can get it almost anywhere. You can pick it up from friends and relatives; you can get it in places with large crowds like sporting events, concerts, or festivals; you can even pick up Arachis Hypogaea from simply going to the store. If you hear nothing else from me today, PLEASE make yourself aware of the dangers of Arachis Hypogaea. Your life depends upon it.

Where am I going with this? Did you get a sense of the alarm from me? Will you now be more aware of how Arachis Hypogaea can threaten your health?

Here’s what you need to know. Arachis Hypogaea? It’s the scientific name for peanuts. Peanuts are essentially harmless for the vast majority of the population. Many people eat peanuts on a regular basis. But what I was saying wasn’t a lie. If you eat peanut shells (the lining of Arachis Hypogaea), you can build up a mass in your intestines. And as I mentioned, sadly, peanut allergies are the cause the of death for around 100 Americans each year. But I imagine that most of you are not scared of peanuts. Personally, I love peanuts. I love peanut butter. I love peanut sauce. And I will fight you for the last Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the bowl. I’m a huge fan of Arachis Hypogaea!

I say all this because, in this time of heightened political tension, what we hear about “the other” political party isn’t completely accurate. The information we get from commercials, brochures, or even hear around the dinner table is often a distorted picture of the truth. People tend to zoom in on one aspect of a political stance that they don’t like and blow it out of proportion, as if it will singularly bring down our country. Those who vote differently from you are not the enemy. Yes, there are individuals in each political party that are bad apples. But what I’ve found is that people tend to vote based on convictions of what they believe to be the best for our country. Rarely are people voting to intentionally hurt others or to send our country into moral failure.

When we think about those on the other side of the aisle, we must be aware of the difference between the truth and what has been misconstrued. Are you recognizing what you are hearing is a zoomed-in version? Are you looking for the good in others? Are you able to pull back and see the whole picture and appreciate where others are coming from? In this time of striving for kindness, my hope is that we’re aiming for a broader perspective and leaning in to where we find good. I’m not saying that how you vote and your convictions don’t matter. That’s absolutely not the case. That being said, we have to find ways to work together to move forward. We have to see the best in one another, to see God in one another. That starts with looking for truth and understanding when we know that lies and misconceptions are the currency of elections.

And for those curious about the picture:

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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