How Should We Treat Each Other? A Biblical Approach
What a Year!
What a year 2020 is turning out to be! Quarantines, COVID-19, lay-offs, and misuse of power have all contributed to the current state we find ourselves in. So much negative news, so many trials, so much evil, so much fear and anger and stress. Where can we turn? Who can we trust? Who will see our pain and fear and will show us love and compassion? The answer to these questions is God, our Creator and Lord. He loves us, cares what happens to us, and wants the very best for us, his adopted children. All of us, not a select few, like the privileged, the uber rich, or the politicians. His unconditional love doesn't change depending upon our races, heritages, ethnic backgrounds, educations, or bank accounts. He doesn't see us as rich or poor and the color of our skin makes no difference to him. He loves all of us! Every person on the planet! Every. Single. One.
Our shared experiences
We have gone through so much collectively and globally that we should feel closer than ever in our connections. We've learned through our shared quarantine experience that being with family and friends is something to be treasured. We may not be an essential worker so we've faced financial hardship. We may have an essential job and have to deal with the constant stress that comes along with that. We have missed being with our tribes, our extended families, our friends and coworkers. Our stresses have been intensified and the media just adds fuel to the already hotly blazing fire. People need a release, somewhere to blow off some steam and relax, but with the COVID-19 quarantine, everything is shut down, making it more difficult for many to relieve that constant stress.
Attempting to Relax
Social media has shown us of ways people are working to fill their time off. Baking, crafting, sewing face masks for others, riding bikes, hiking outdoors with our immediate families, gardening, or binge-watching Netflix are just a few of the ways I've seen my social media friends participating in. Personally, I've been crafting, reading novels, and watching shows on Netflix.
As unemployment spikes and the growing number of those who have been infected with the novel coronavirus seems to be never-ending, some people have been experiencing shorter tempers and even higher stresses. Admittedly, I'm also wondering where our global economy will go, how things will be different when the quarantine is lifted, and how all people will be transformed by our experiences. Some don't like change; for others the changes need to happen.
Where Could I Go But to the Lord
Misuses of Power
When those who are in a position of authority who we have placed our trust in abuse their power, such as with George Floyd's death, things can get unpredictable in a hurry. There are also conflicting statements inflamed by the media and by some of our trusted politicians.Generalities and assumptions have been made that if one politician is bad, they are all bad. This isn't a true statement. Nor is it fair to say that because a police officer acted in a manner unworthy of his uniform and pledge to "protect and serve" that all law enforcement are evil or are willing to break the laws of our country or moral code. I have both family and friends in the law enforcement community and I'm proud to say they are wonderful people who have chosen the role of a public servant to protect human rights and to do what they can while abiding by the law to keep each individual safe, regardless of race, color, creed, sexual preference, religious affiliation, or anything else that can be said that make us beautifully different from each other. Note that I didn't say better or worse, only different.
A Biblical Approach
This morning during the worship service's sermon, the preacher referred to Colossians 3:23-24 which reads,
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
While in the context of the Scripture, the apostle Paul is speaking specifically to slaves, I am not referring in this article to those working in bondage, for Christians are all slaves to Christ (Romans 6:22).
In Christ, there is no difference among people. In Galatians 3:26-28 it says,
"So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Fitting it Together
So how does all of this fit together? What does it have to do with our current situation? Good question.
Colossians 3:12-13 also makes a reference about what we should clothe ourselves with.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
God never said these things are easy to do, especially when you have been wronged. Sometimes it's much easier to be angry and act on those angry impulses. This can also refer to anger toward God for allowing COVID-19 to happen or to hate people from a particular country based on their citizenship. Both are wrong, according to what we just read.
Verse 14 of that same chapter in the Bible says, "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Put on love; that may be the hardest one yet. When we have been violated or taken advantage of through no fault of our own, it's more difficult to put on love and to show love. We want revenge! While putting on love is easy to say, it isn't always an easy thing to put into action.
Satan wants us to act on our fleshly nature. It brings him joy, but it breaks God's heart when we do! Whether talking about before the rioting, coronavirus, and unemployment or after, God still hates it when we sin. While he loves us as beloved children, he disapproves of our actions. Telling little white lies, cheating on our taxes, or having sex outside of marriage are all things God detests. Personally, I struggle with making Bible study a priority, and I know he wants me to make him a priority and not something I do when I'm finished with everything else.
"Whether in Word or Deed"
Am I saying I am perfect or am without any blame or sin? Absolutely not. I'm making the point that whatever we do, it needs to be for the glory of God. Where did I get that idea? From the inspired writings of the Bible, again in Colossians.
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col. 3:17)
"Whether in word or deed" means that any action I may take or any word that comes out of my mouth needs to be pleasing to God the Father. So whether I'm washing my family's dirty dishes or selling jewelry to friends on Facebook, I need to watch what I'm doing and saying. I should also be giving thanks to the Lord above!
I am praying that our country can be unified, that every person be treated with the respect that God would want us to have for others, and that we will all put on love, showing our love for others by our words and our deeds.
What things are you praying for right now? Mention them in the comments, and I will pray for that as well.
© 2020 Diana Majors