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Posts Tagged ‘The Golden Rule’

Why-We-Do-What-We-Do

Why do we do what we do?

for others to notice?

for God to be glorified?

for our own self interests?

When Jesus came, and walked on this rotating globe, he came with a purpose”

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

The Law … you know the Torah, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). This Law, containing 613 commandments, was the Israelite’s guide for how to live and remain in favor with God. And The Prophets … so many of them in the Old Testament. “The English word prophet comes from a Greek word meaning advocate” (Wikipedia). These Biblical prophets were given messages to share, and tasks to do, on behalf of (advocating for) the One true God.

His purpose was to not simply obey the Law, but to be our living example of the perfection that obeying the Law was aimed at working towards (an impossible task for we mere mortals).

So, according to Jesus, what is our purpose?

Just before He states His purpose, He declares of his disciples (of whom we who follow Christ are):

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

We are to be a light on a hill …

so our purpose is to …

reflect?

And what are we reflecting?

Our Father in heaven.

Really, those verses in Matthew can be summed up later in Matthew (7:12):

“so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Ah, the Golden Rule … those are words to live by.

Why do we do what we do?

To reflect …

our Father in heaven,

and in doing so we live out the Law, the Prophets, and the love of Jesus Christ.

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I’m gonna gripe, and that’s never pretty, so be prepared (I feel it is unfair to allow you to start reading this without being forewarned first).

I also need to explain that my gripe is directed to Christians, and no one else. So read if you like, or take a day off from reading my blog.

There is a trend among Christians these days. It is not a completely bad thing, but it is a TREND, and trends do not change lives or how we live, but for a short while. Now, please do not start your fired-up reply to my post until you get to the end (that is probably what I would do, but I beg you to hear me out fully before cursing at me 😉 ). And if you have been reading my blog for more than a week, you already know that I connect with God best through His creation.

This trend is towards creation-focused environmentalism. This trend is, I believe, a reaction from years of churches and Christians not focusing on what God called we humans to, in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:26). I also believe it is a reaction to our society’s strong focus on environmental awareness and concern for our planet’s ability to sustain itself … good things for certain … I repeat, good things for certain!

What I have problem with in regard to this trendy focus, is that the focus of Jesus, what He thought was most important, was a little different, and certainly not a trendy focus. The focus of Jesus, as He walked our God-created planet Earth, was made plainly, concisely and constantly.

In Matthew (22:37-40):

“Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Mark (12:29-31):

“Jesus said, “the first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

Luke (10:25-28):

“Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” He (Jesus) answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?” He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.””

The question is asked of Jesus, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law” (the Law meaning, the Torah, or the first five books of the Old Testament). Jesus response, as was often the case, referred back to the Law, (Deuteronomy 6:5), “love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!” But He didn’t stop there, he then continued on and referred to the Law again, when he told them what the second greatest commandment was (Leviticus 19:18), “love your neighbor as yourself.” (in the Luke passage, Jesus throws the question back to the scholar as to what the Law says, and he would seem to pair the two commands together as well).

It is in these three New Testament references, back to the Jewish Law, which are the focus of how we are to live, from the perspective of Jesus. It is in living as these references teach, that we find out “everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them,” “there is no other commandment that ranks with these,” and “do it and you’ll live.”

As I ponder what was most important to Jesus I wonder, if we loved our God with our whole hearts, and if we loved others as ourselves, would we not then naturally, wholeheartedly, and as a permanent lifestyle (as opposed to a trendy thing to do) choose, through loving our Creator and loving our fellow man, take care of the world that He placed us in?

Don’t forget sustainability and environmental stewardship, just put it in it’s place, and get focused on what is our greatest calling, since “there is no other commandment that ranks with these.

Griping is over for this week 😉

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Today, February 29, 2012 (where I live), is Pink Shirt Day (pinkshirtday). It is a day when we are encouraged to wear a pink shirt, in support of the movement to stop bullying. I LOVE this day! I LOVE the outward expression to say, I will not tolerate bullying. Somehow, in putting on a pink shirt, says that you give bullying more than just lip service, but that you are willing to show how you feel, and think, publicly.

I will be wearing pink today.

We have all experienced bullying. Whether it was ‘just’ a little teasing when you were in preschool, or outright threats against your life, as a teen, you still remember it. You still remember where you were, what you were doing, who was with you, and maybe even what you were wearing. And you remember all of this because the bullying caused a trauma in your brain, and the scar of it’s bruising is permanent.

That is how bullying works, it is permanent. Even those who think that we make too much of bullying, can recall with perfect memory, a time when they were bullied. Maybe they feel it strengthened their character, maybe they feel it did not alter the course of their lives, and maybe they are right … but they do still remember it.

I love that media sources are fully behind this movement to eliminate bullying. But … I am not sure that they are fully committed to it.

Anyone who has heard news sources speak of pro athletes, celebrities, or other world personalities, knows that their presence in our society makes them fodder for harassment, gossip, and denigration. Somehow, in our society, we have decided that bullying is bad, but only if the one who gets bullied is not rich.

I disagree. How many wealthy public personalities have suffered at the hands of the stalking and bullying media? How many have lost their right to privacy? How many have lost their physical lives? The ‘reason’ for the bullying that they receive is usually that, they are public figures, and this is just the downside to all the perks that they get. Hum, if a student council president got bullied, would the bullier be able to use that excuse to justify his/her behavior? I think not.

Our media seems to have a Teflon coating. They seem to be able to dish out the harassment, gossip and denigration, but it is never their responsibility for what they say. They would say that they are simply giving the public what we want to know, about these famous people. As though it is our (or the media’s) right to invade the lives of others.

There is truth to their argument, too. The TV shows, the magazines, the websites, and the pictures of famous people that we ingest as a society are extensive. We seem, as a society, to have an insatiable appetite for the joys, sorrows and downfalls of the famous.

Maybe we need to not buy those magazines, watch those programs, subscribe to those websites that feature pictures and stories of individuals. We need to recognize the reality that bullying has probably been done to get the pictures, and the stories are often full of presumptions, and ‘anonymous’ tips from ‘insiders’. Maybe we need to take responsibility for our ‘second hand bullying’ by viewing and reading these materials.

Maybe wearing a pink shirt, while denigrating the players on our favorite sports team, or reading the latest on ‘Brangelina’ in a magazine is actually rather … hypocritical? Maybe we need to start looking at celebrities through the same lens that we would want to be viewed. Maybe we need to “do to others as we would want them to do to us” (Luke 6:31) … THAT is the golden rule that would end bullying forever, and for everyone!

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