This morning in our school reading we read Leviticus chapter 19. This whole chapter is a long list of rules the YHVH gives Moses to give to the Israelite people. Some of them are easy and simple to understand, some of them seem silly to us, and some of them make very little sense to us today. But, as we read them my kids and I stopped and discussed verse 17.
Here is a section of the chapter with verse seventeen highlighted for you.
9‘Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10‘Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.
13‘You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. 14‘You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.
15‘You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. 16‘You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD.
17‘You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. 18‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.
After reading these verses one of the kids says, does it really say that. I said yes, and what do you think it means.
They began saying how if we truly love our brother and sister in Christ, we are responsible to point out their sin to them in love. Jeremiah then said how can I make someone else stop sinning. Do I threaten them? We continued to discuss this and came ot the conclusion that even though we should tell our fellow believer that they are sinning, it is not our job to convict them or to make them repent, but if we do NOT tell them they are in sin then we are just as guilty as they are for their sin.
Wow, that is heavy. But here is the thing this is not in the Old Testament only. NO it is repeated often through our the Bible. Here is a few examples:
“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13“If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14“So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
15“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16“But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
19“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
21Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
Luke 17:3-4 (same story of Yeshua told this time by Luke)
1 John 2:1-14
1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
3By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
7Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 9The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
12I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. 13I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. 14I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
So, I have been thinking on all these verses today as I was out working in my garden and yard. How do I share love and compassion with those who are my fellow believers in Yeshua Messiah? Who are my fellow believers? Are they the people I attend church with? Are they all my friends and family that call themselves Christians? I have many friends and loved ones that call themselves Christians, but do not live according to the standards of the Bible.
TO be honest, I love living according to the standards of God’s Word. I find it to be true freedom in Christ. I have more and more peace and assurance every day that I seek Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. The more I learn about Him and His Ways, the more I feel blessed to be able to study His Word and live it out to the best of my ability. I know what I believe and I am full convinced that it is TRUTH. Do I think I have all the answers? NO, NO, NO. But there are so many things that are so plan and clear in the Bible that I feel blessed to know them and try and walk according to them.
I actually feel sadness for those who do not know them, or do not choose to walk in them. Not because I think I have all the answers. And not because I think they are worse sinners than I. And not because I think that grace is only for those who walk out their faith the way I do. No, I feel sadness for those who have constant turmoil and pain and very little or no peace in this world because they don’t know that God has a better way for them to live.
So, back to my original thought, how do I live out these verses? Who am I to rebuke if I see them in sin? I think I have come to the conclusion that it is my job to live out my faith as openly and honestly as I can, and to be ready with an answer for how I live and why. And if anyone claims to be of Christ, but does not obey His commands, it is my job to lovingly point out their sin, and if they do not turn from their sin, I am to love them just like I would anyone else who is a sinner. For we are all sinners, and yet we can all be saints saved by grace.
That’s my two cents worth. So, have a blessed week, and shalom.