He that covereth trespass, seeketh friendships; he that rehearseth by an high word (but he who remembereth a wrong), separateth them that (should) be knit together in peace.
Convicting verse, for sure. How do you point out wrongdoing so that it is not repeated without remembering the wrong? Or are you called to deal with the wrong directly with that individual and then cover it so that others will not know and hold that against that person? And perhaps you are asked to not hold a grudge and seek damage of the one who damaged you?
When Christians speak of avoiding sin, this verse — to me — reveals the sin that requires diligent avoidance! Some call this a little sin named “gossip.” God calls it hatred and a twisted desire for conflict between others.
Jesus starts out by telling His disciples ( and us ) that He gives them ( and us ) something new; He gives them ( yes, and us ) a new commandment. Odd, I thought God never changes. At any rate, Jesus Himself says that this commandment is new.
“A new commandment give I unto you…”
Unlike the old way, we are not to take an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. We are not to retaliate. Rather we are to forgive and yes – forget by loving one another. This other-worldly, beyond-human love is what distinguishes us from the rest of the fallen world. Listen to Jesus tell His disciples ( and us ) the new commandment is:
that ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know, that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Probably you’ve heard that it’s important to keep positive, to maintain a positive attitude especially when dealing with the public. You know the adage – “the customer is always right.” Don’t be negative; smile; maintain good eye contact. Be kind. Be professional.
From henceforth, brethren, whatever things be sooth, whatever things chaste, whatever things just, whatever things holy, whatever things able to be loved, whatever things of good fame, if any virtue, if any praising of discipline, think ye (on) these things,
Does Paul mean that we should fake it? – that we should just act positive no matter how we think or feel. No, I don’t think so. I believe he’s saying that we ought to be so enamoured with the Word of God that it transforms our thinking – our very pattern of thought so that our actions mirror our thoughts. And our thoughts ought to mirror God’s thoughts.
Not sure what God is thinking? Read His Word. Then you’ll know.
“Ask ye, and it shall be given to you; seek ye, and ye shall find; knock ye, and it shall be opened to you. For each that asketh, taketh; and he that seeketh, findeth; and it shall be opened to him, that knocketh;”
He says not to throw your pearls to swine in case you are trampled to death by them or torn to pieces by wild dogs.
Before He warns of throwing yourself away, He warns not to judge others.
After He says to ask, seek, and knock, He reminds that God does not give bad things to His people, but only good things. Just as a parent does not give stones to hungry children, so God does not give worthless things to His children.
So, stop judging. Use discernment instead. And ask for what’s good, fully expecting to receive it. Seek it out so you find it. Knock and go in.
Such a simple statement – “do to others what you would have them do to you.” But the second statement that Jesus makes is a bit grandiose, don’t you think? He says, “That is the law and the prophets.” Read it:
“Do to other men all that you would have them do to you; that is the law and the prophets.”
Jesus says that if you behave toward others in ways you’d like them to behave toward you, then you’ve fulfilled the law. Every word handed down to you from the Old Covenant prophets has led you to this understanding – that what you do to others should match what you would have them do to you.
If I’m lonely, I like to be comforted. If I’m hungry, I want someone to make sure I’m fed. If I’m hurt, I’d like someone to heal me. If I’m homeless, I’d like someone to give me shelter. If I’m different from you, I’d like your acceptance.
Why do you suppose Jesus tells the believing Jews to “dwell in” His Word? After all, the Word was given to their people first, many years before Jesus’ physical birth. These Jews may argue this point; some do.
Jesus informs them that He is the great “I Am,”(v. 24) “the Beginning, or the first of all thing, the which and I speak to you.” (v. 25) Some Jews listening to Jesus reject this claim, but many believe.
“Therefore Jesus said to the Jews, that believed in him, If ye dwell in my word, verily ye shall be my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
They believe. Aren’t they already free? Why do they have to “dwell in [His] Word?” They believe. Why don’t they already “know the truth?”
They’ve just heard, just now. They process this awesome good news. They aren’t sure; they need time. They need to sit down at His feet, so to speak, and hear more.
Dwell in His Word. Learn of His yoke; feel how light the burden. These Jews carry a heavy load, the heavy load of the Law of Moses, a task-master and instructor that has finally guided them to the Messiah, who stands before them claiming to be One with God. Jesus’ Word is overwhelming.
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
Not only does Jesus command that we love our brothers but that we love our enemies. I hear a lot about ‘tough’ love, but I don’t recall Jesus ever speaking of a love that’s anything but generous.
Yes, Jesus gets angry with the moneychangers in the temple and He chastises those who would profit from the woes of others. Yes, He scolds the Pharisees whose spiritual pride is a huge stumbling block to their walk with God.
Nevertheless, Jesus tells us to go two miles with the man who would force us to go one mile. He tells us to give our coat to the man who also demands our shoes. As far as it is up to us, Jesus calls us to live in peace with everyone.
So, we are either one person or we are united as one in Jesus. Either way, we “who have been baptized in Christ’s name have put on the person of Christ.” We are “clothed with Christ.” Paul implies we are dressed up in Christ as if we’ve put on a costume for a big party. Yet, he means so much more. The physical properties, the settings in which we dwell no longer matter. That I am female and you are male means little – if anything – in the kingdom of God. For the flesh can not inherit the kingdom. We will all be changed, in a flash at the sound of the trumpet. The mortal will fall away, and we shall be as He is – immortal.
Therefore, the petty differences between us – our gender, the color of our skin, our cultural backgrounds or ethnicity, our station in life, the money we have or don’t have – these things mean nothing. The only thing that counts is our relationship with Christ, that we are indeed one person.
“through faith in Christ Jesus you are all now God’s sons. All you who have been baptized in Christ’s name have put on the person of Christ; no more Jew or Gentile, no more slave and freeman, no more male and female; you are all one person in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 3:26-28KNOX
“For all ye be the children of God through the belief of Jesus Christ. [For all ye be the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.] For all ye that be baptized, be clothed with Christ. [Forsooth whoever ye be baptized in Christ, ye have clothed in Christ.] There is no Jew, nor Greek, no bondman, nor free man, no male, nor female [There is not Jew, neither Greek; there is not servant, neither free man; there is not male, neither female]; for all ye be one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28WYC
Yes, Paul tells early Christians to run the race so as to win the prize. But the fact that we run in the race has nothing whatever to do with us. Rather, Christ’s winning of the race, yea, of the battle! puts us in the field with Him as if we are running along side Him or – more accurately – as if He is running inside our bodies. So, it is God’s mercy that puts us where we are – safety on the journey to full salvation. And who will win? Each of us whose God is merciful.
“It is not neither of man willing [Therefore it is not neither of a man willing], neither running, but of God having mercy.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that ye have peace in me; in the world ye shall have dis-ease [in the world ye shall have pressing, or overlaying], but trust ye, I have overcome the world.”
Who has overcome the world? You? No. In the world, you are pressed; you are overlayed with burdens – your own and others’. Who has overcome the world? Jesus says, “Trust this truth; I have overcome the world.”
Where is your peace? Is it from you? No. Is it from your family? No. Jesus says, “You have peace in Me.” No, not from Jesus, but in Jesus!