the entire back yard. It was tidy, looked relatively new, and made the backyard feel like a private oasis. When I saw my pretty fence panels blown off their brackets and leaning on trees, my first thought was it would be a single days’ worth of work to hang the panels back up. However, when we went out to inspect the fence, we quickly realized we were in for a bigger project. Instead of being connected to proper posts with good hardware, our beautiful fence was more like an episode of the Red Green show. It looked good on the outside, but inside it was weak and poorly assembled.
My fence reminds me of some of the relationships in our country right now. People running around blaming someone else for bad hardware, poor assembly, and all the while the fence panels are still laying on the ground. People are screaming everywhere to either rebuild the fence or burn the fence. It’s a backyard of chaos.
As a believer, I often wonder what the right thing to do is. Should I grab a hammer to build or some matches to burn? What is most important? Once again God’s word comes to mind.
So often God’s word brings clarity to the chaos. In this passage Jesus sums up the Old Testament in two sentences, and yet we could spend a lifetime learning how to live these two sentences out. When Jesus referred to the Law, the Jews listening understood he was talking about the Ten Commandments. God had given the Jewish community ten laws to live by, but over time they grew those ten laws into a complicated system of do’s and don’ts that left the community wondering what was most important. When we study the Ten Commandments, people will sometimes put them into two main categories. The first five teach us how to have a relationship with God. The second five teach us how to have a relationship with other people. Basic principles like don’t worship idols and don’t murder people seem to make sense to most believers. But what does that have to do with us who have been set free from the Law? I just wonder rather than building or burning what would happen if believers chose to do something different. What if we chose to seek out how to love God with all our heart, soul and mind better? What would happen if we studied how to love our neighbors as ourselves better?
Many of the issues we are facing these days are not new, in fact some go back to the dawn of time. Humanity has been here before, it’s just a bit new to us. Injustice, just like Cain and Able. Corrupt societies just like the tower of Babel. Ruthless Kings, wars, ungodly people who seem to prosper, poor people being misused; the list could go on and on. The issues seem so complex but the answers are still the same, love God and love one another.
If I ask myself how much time did I spend reading the Bible and praying compared to how much time I spent on my phone this past week would the answer show a love for God or my phone? If I ask myself how many ways I spent loving myself this past week, would there be any evidence that I even had neighbors?
My backyard full of fence panels is relatively small damage and will cost me a few days of work, but the challenge to love better has left me to work on a much bigger project; me.
In His Name, Bonnie