God's Advice For The Rest of 2020
Updated: Jan 13
***Given the chaos, racism, hate, toxic politics, and loss that we've experienced in 2020, what is God's advice for the rest of the year?
What are you doing? You are making some people more important than others, and with evil thoughts you are deciding that one person is better. If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful, or you will completely destroy each other.
We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. God shows no partiality.
Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer. If people say, “I love God,” but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ And ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
So, love each other deeply with all your heart. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Never think some people are more important than others. If you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than other people. Even those who don’t know God are nice to their friends. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy. Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. Don’t accuse others of being guilty, and you will not be accused of being guilty. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.
So, prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Obviously, the above verses are "out of order." This was not an attempt to change or "reorder" scripture. Rather, after carefully studying the context of certain Bible passages, I attempted to synthesize those passages to highlight God’s desire for us to love our neighbors (consider it sort of a "systematic theology of loving our neighbors"). The verses that I used include—Genesis 1:26-27; Deut. 10:17; Proverbs 31:9; Isaiah 1:17; Micah 6:8; Matthew 5:44, 47; 22:37-39; Luke 6:36-37; Acts 17:26; Romans 2:11; 10:13; 12:2, 10, 12-13, 15-18; 13:10; Galatians 3:28; 5:15; Ephesians 2:10, 14; 4:31-32; Philippians 2:3-4; Colossians 3:2; James 2:1, 4; 1 Peter 1:13, 22; 4:8; and 1 John 1:7; 3:15; 4:8.