When Jesus said the whole law can be summed in “Love the Lord your God with all your heart mind and strength, and love you neighbour as yourself” he was indicating very powerfully that since love is the one word that is meant to define every thought, word and action in our lives then if every aspect of our lives is motivated by love we have fulfilled the whole law.
What lies at the heart of love is the idea of fairness or justice. It’s all about treating others in the way they should be treated and if you don’t know what that looks like then, says the Bible, consider how you would want to be treated yourself.
To love God and treat him with respect is nothing more than giving him a fair-go out of consideration for who he is and what He has done for us. Treating others as you would like to be treated is not only fair it is also a wonderful investment into the store of fairness of our community.
While it is true that we are sinners, the fact remains that we become all the more sinful if we are sinned against. Every act of selfishness or aggression increases the level of mistrust and resentment in the community and adds to further acts of selfishness. People generally become unforgiving when you do things to them that make it hard to forgive you for.
We are all walking around with two heavy packs on our backs; in one we have the guilt from the things we have done, in the other is the resentment for the things done to us by others. We may laugh at cranky old men but often the anger of age is the result of carrying all our lives, burdens we were never meant to carry.
When Jesus talked about the prison house of torture in Matthew 18:34, he wasn’t talking about Hell as such, but the foretaste of it you will experience in this life if you don’t take the grace of God seriously. Only when you stop paying your own debts can you cancel the debts of others.
Jesus talked a lot about Hell which is the English rendition of the word Gehenna the name given to the endlessly smouldering dump outside the city of Jerusalem. Hell could then be described as the garbage dump of the universe the ultimate destiny of the collective sin of mankind.
Jesus died on the cross to take our sin to the tip and because he had an unblemished record, was free to leave on his own accord.
The Gospel presents us with a choice. On one hand we can unload our burdens at the cross and walk away completely free. Free to live in joy, free to love and forgive others and free forever from the spectre of the garbage tip of the universe over our heads. Alternatively we carry our own burdens right through this life, making our lives miserable and adding to the world’s store of hatred, resentment and mistrust only to end up along with those burdens, in Hell forever. Peter compares the Christian who walks away from the grace of God to a dog who returns to his vomit or a pig who, having been washed, goes back to wallow in the mud. He then makes the valid point that those who turn away after gaining the knowledge of salvation are far worse off than those that have never heard. So it you are tempted to hold onto your rubbish you need to consider what you are up for. Contrary to what many Australians think, there is no booze down there, but there’s no place in the universe where to desire for it is greater.
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