For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love (v.13).
A comedian once mused that he wished someone would make a GPS for husbands. He said something like this: GPS: “Compliment your wife’s appearance.” Comedian: “Hey, honey, you look really good.” GPS: “Ask her about her day.” Comedian: “How was your day, sweetheart?” GPS: “Pretend to be listening.” Comedian: “Oh . . . Really . . .” GPS: “Flatter your wife.” Comedian: “Um . . . Hey, you’re gonna look really good once you put all your make-up on.” GPS: “Recalculating.”
The Bible is much, much more than a GPS. But it does record that Jesus dropped many GPS-like directives. They help us recalculate how relationships should work now that He has come. Here are a few: “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44); “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31); “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven” (6:37); “There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent” (24:47).
The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus opened a new way of relating to others and to God. The fallen way of selfishness, revenge, and pride was replaced with His kingdom ways of love, grace, and humility. Jesus spent His ministry announcing and demonstrating this good news. As His followers, we declare the same good news that Jesus’ kingdom has come. It touches the hearts of people every time we treat those around us with respect, mercy, and compassion.
As theologian N. T. Wright puts it, “It’s a way nobody’s ever tried before, a way that is as unthinkable to most human beings and societies as—well, as resurrection itself. Precisely. That’s the point. Welcome to Jesus’ new world!”
Read Matthew 22:37 and note the keys to relating well to God and others.
Where do you need to recalculate the way you relate to others? In what ways do Jesus’ commands about how to relate to others seem truly radical?