Loving in Harmony
“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” Proverbs 19:17 ESV
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 ESV
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,
you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:40 (see v. 45) ESV
“Remember, you’re the only one who matters. You are the only person who knows what’s best for you….
Always, always listen to yourself and what you want first.” Stephanie Zamora, self-styled “Life Coach”
Dear Church Family,
As you can probably tell, I found it hard to narrowing down my scripture selections for this letter—too many good ones. Hopefully the common theme is obvious—the way we treat others is also the way we treat God. When we give to the poor, it is “lending” to God, who is the God of the poor (Proverbs 19:17). In response, we can be assured that God will “repay” whatever we spend. See also Matthew 6:1-4, where Jesus promises that God will “reward” those who give to the poor (provided they didn’t do it to receive praise from other people).
Hebrews 13:2 is a little different, because it cites “angels” as the ones who might benefit from our hospitality to strangers. Still, the idea is that caring for others in need is ultimately caring for God. In Matthew 25, Jesus explains the final judgment, when the dead are raised and divided into two groups. In verses 40 and 45, each group is judged by how they treated Jesus, except that their treatment of Jesus is determined by how they treated “the least of these my brothers.”
Another two quick ones: Genesis 9:6 explains that murder requires judgment because the one killed was created in God’s image. James 3:9 teaches that it is an irreconcilable contradiction to use the same tongue to bless God and curse those created in God’s image. The implications are clear. Although I would never suggest that humans are “divine,” the Bible presents such a connection between God, the Creator, and those created in his image, that our treatment of the latter is considered the same our treatment of the former. We, who claim to love God, cannot fail to love others without committing a great contradiction.
Contrast this biblical truth with an attitude of “me first” or “mind your own business.” Hopefully you immediately recognized the contrast in the quotation of a so-called “life coach,” Stephanie Zamora. It reflects the self-centered attitude of our age. Of course, there’s nothing unbiblical in caring for your own well-being. The command to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” requires a type of self-love. But the biblical understanding of self-love has to harmonize with the fact that loving others is part and parcel of our love of God. Are you loving in harmony?