Thursday, February 17, 2005

Being Right (part 2)

I have titled this "series" of posts Being Right, because I know that there are many people out there that are concerned with... well, being right. Most people know that they want to be right with God. And even if they are not right with God right now, they know that they eventually want to be.

In the first post, I introduced this discussion by talking about the high correlation between Loving God and Loving Others. You can read that first post here: Being Right (part 1). When I wrote that first post, my intent was to establish some foundational thoughts about being right.

The brief version of God's plan for you is to Love God and to Love Others. Or one might say: to Love God by Loving Others. If you have not read that first post, I would like to encourage you to, this post will make more sense if you read the other one first.

Now that you have read that previous post (I hope), I will dig in a little bit deeper by taking a look at the flip-side of the coin. If Loving God is so closely tied to Loving Others, then to not be Loving to Others, would be to not be Loving to God. In logic, this is called a contrapositive and is a truthfully equivalent statement.

In the parable of the Sheep and the Goats, which I mentioned in the previous post, Jesus states the same thing. He says to the goats, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Jesus has equated their neglect of others as a neglect of Himself. (read the whole passage here.)

In the Sermon on the Mount, we can find another reference to this idea. Another passage that talks about this same topic is Matthew 5:23-24.

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."

Did you catch that? It is almost as if God is saying, "Don't come to my altar... Don't bring me your gifts... Go to that brother of yours and get things right FIRST! Then you can come to me."

You cannot be right with God until you are right with others. The problems need to be fixed. Restorations need to be made. And time doesn't solve this problem either. Though that might seem like a nice fix to the wrongs that we have done to others, it just doesn't work that way in the real world. Douglas Wilson puts it this way,

"Sin disrupts relationships. Sin never 'blows over.' If the mere passage of time could deal with the problem of sin, the Son of God died for no reason."

Fellowship is a beautiful thing. When it is disrupted it gets ugly. We cannot separate those ties with God away from those ties with others.

Do you want to Be Right with God?

... then start by getting right with those people around you.

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