God knows how much we need Him and His loving, demanding directives in our lives. Even when we don’t want either. God gets right to the point about how we should live, act and interact with others. Our God does this plain talk all for our very best, all out of His love for us.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. – Leviticus 19:18
God’s love takes us deep. We are not to seek revenge. Not even a little bit of revenge? Even if they really deserve it? No. None.
Only God is able see everything and everyone involved with perfect clarity and discernment. We can’t. Only God is able to justly judge the actual sin and the deep thoughts, motivations and circumstances of the one who wronged us. We can’t. We don’t even want to. We just want revenge. Vengeance is God’s, not ours. And God chose to impose all judgment against, and all punishment for, all sin onto His holy Son Jesus. For us to mete out vengeance based on our own very limited, self-focused perspective is a dangerous game of playing God. It is out of God’s love that He tells us not to seek revenge. Payback isn’t sweet. It’s a bitter mockery of the sacrifice Jesus made as the full punishment for all sin – for all time, for all people.
God’s love takes us deeper. We are not to bear a grudge against another person. Even if we hold the grudge silently inside our own heads? Even if nobody else knows about the grudge? No. Never.
Bearing a grudge is like bearing a heavy, stone wall cemented together by unforgiveness. We think we are entitled to this attitude because of the evil, hurtful things that were done to us. But that kind of thinking, that we think we’re entitled to, is actually absolute entrapment. If we keep bearing this grudge, the weight of it will crush us. Leaving us in a crumbled mess of bitterness and resentment. It is out of God’s love for us that He tells us not to bear a grudge. We cannot bear a grudge and, at the same time, bear witness to the forgiveness we have freely received from Jesus Christ.
God’s love takes us deeper still. Love your neighbor as yourself. God loves us. All of us. Out of that love for all His children, God wants us to love others. All others. We are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And we should love ourselves in truthful, caring, wise, health-bringing ways. It is out of God’s love for us that He tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. It is for our very best that God wants us to choose thoughts, words, actions and interactions that reflect and reveal Christ’s love for all.
God’s directives are loving and demanding – in the deepest, most freeing ways possible.