2445) A New Commandment

“What Do You Think of the Humans?” by Chris Brekke, posted September 6, 2020, on his brand new website/blog Seasoned Hope, at:
Chris, a good friend of mine, is a retired Lutheran pastor who has written several books including Joke Devotions (1, 2, and 3), Got a Question? (1 and 2), and Faith Appetizers.  You can learn more about these books (and order them) at:  www.solapublishing.com
(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com)
     Do your fellow humans more often make you smile, or frown?  Are you pretty happy with them, or is it more that they tick you off?  It could be good to examine your own attitude on this.  Some days we’re too busy with our own doings to think about such things, so your mind may often have a general “meh” about people.  Indeed, there are so many of them!  The streets and stores are full of them.  The vast majority of folks are just part of the scenery and you neither see them nor think of them.  They’re kinda props on the stage of your life.  They get the same attention as a passing tree.  I get that.  Our minds cannot focus in on every human that crosses our path.  However, when you do stop to consider your view of human beings, is your opinion more kindly, or critical?
     There certainly are a boatload of reasons to be critical.  Just think of all the lousy lowdown things that people do.  People lie, cheat and pollute.  People brag, gossip and irritate.  People support the wrong party, abandon their family and neglect to wear masks.  People fight, waste and even cut us off on the highway!  Sheesh!
     People!  There’s plenty of room for criticism.  We indeed understand the sentiment of the bumper sticker:  “ The more I know people the more I love my dog.”  Uh-huh.  Those blasted earthlings cause us so much trouble!  We have no problem coming up with a list of things that need to be corrected in our species.
     Can I say “good luck with that”?  You will never run out of things to be miffed about regarding the humanoids.  You can spend all your days in negative judgement; in mental scolding; in simmering and perhaps righteous anger.
     I’d encourage you not to do that.  Although blame and shame, judgement and condemnation, are common approaches – among both religious and secular folks – a better way is available.  The coming of Jesus shifted the focus.  Instead of all the rules and shoulds and judgements, He brought grace.  His undeserved love generated a kindly, rather than critical, perspective toward the humans.  It’s the shift from a righteous frown to a kindly smile.  It’s like going from the darkness of someone’s negative disapproval of you to the sunshine of one who likes you.  (You have experienced both those realities, yes?)  In Jesus, God gives you an affirming place to live.  It’s like leaving the doghouse and being welcomed into the living room.  Fantastic!  The life-giving grace of the Lord lifts up idiots and sinners like us and extends the hug of “yes” in place of the finger-wag of “no”.  (Divine hugs are still allowed, even if human hugs during Covid  are verboten for now.)  His love intends to come to us and move along through us to others. Say yes to all those troubled and troublesome humans.
     So, keep your mind in scold-mold if you must, but if you can let the Lord infect your attitude with His generous love, more heaven will break in.  The key word for those who want to follow Christ is “love.”   It is not “teach” nor “judge” nor “nag”.  Jesus put it this way: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you love one another.” (John 13:34)  Our job in our time upon earth is not to evaluate people nor to sit in judgement of our fellow humans.  Our job is to love them, to offer hope and help.  Jesus came to save, not scold.  He wasn’t just another prophet, telling us to shape up.  He is the power of transforming love.  “He who does not love does not know God; for God is love”.(I John 4:8)  Let Him have His way.

A Psalm of Hope (13:5-6):

I have trusted in thy steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.


A Prayer as you go:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.  Where there is hated, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

–St Francis