December 9, 2023
Leviticus 19:17-18, New Living Translation
“Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly, so you will not be held guilty for their sins. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
It seems today, in our society, we nurse a lot of things in our heart. I wonder if it stems from unforgiveness. Unforgiveness builds a wall in from that position of defense, we are internally hating our brother. What other sins has this led us to? Leviticus 19:17-18 (NLT) says this, “Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly, so you will not be held guilty for their sins. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
The key phrase I believe we should set a reminder in our hearts is “Love, your neighbor as yourself.“ We live in a society where we don’t like what someone says or does, and we retaliate. But God doesn’t call us to take vengeance on our enemies. He calls us to love! Romans 12:17-21 (NLT) tells us, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the scriptures say, ‘I will take vengeance; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Instead, ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
Jesus Himself expresses the importance of love and forgiveness. “You have heard the law that says ‘Love your neighbor, and hit your enemies! But I sync, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:43-44, NLT) Jesus continues on while teaching us to pray in Matthew 6:14-14 (NLT), “If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
So, we can see, the truth will set us free! Jesus Himself is the truth, the life, and the way. He tells us to love and not to avenge. He tells us to forgive, and not to hold a grudge. In taking matters into our own hands, we are fighting against God… We are sinning against God. We are rejecting everything Jesus died for to give us.
Instead of giving the enemy a foothold and allowing him to lead us in a destructive path that leads to death, let us turn to Jesus for our instruction, our healing, our salvation.
This world seems to be getting darker by the day. The Bible says, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But those who endure to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13, NLT) Let us not grow cold, but let us endure to the end with love and forgiveness! Instead of being transformed by the world, let us be transformed by the renewing of your mind. In the word of God! God calls us to be salt and light. Don’t let this world in the culture of the world in today’s society. Make you tasteless. Don’t let them dim the light that God has put inside you!
We all need to let something go and surrender it to the Lord. I would encourage us today to do so. Let it go, give forgiveness and open yourself to love. When you do, the Lord comes in and does a miraculous work in your heart. Healing takes place and you begin to walk in true freedom because you are obeying the Lord. “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, NLT)