Re:Verse reading–Philemon 1-25 (day six)

Although slavery in the Roman Empire was not based on race, it was equally dehumanizing and reinforced extreme prejudice against slaves, even freed slaves. In that day, Philemon had complete authority over Onesimus’ life; he was nothing more than property to do with as he pleased.

The Gospel changed that kind of thinking. The Gospel did not upend (immediately) an evil system, but it did upend Philemon’s mind. The Gospel would not allow him to think of Onesimus as property, but led him to think of him as a neighbor, and then his brother.

The Gospel will always, always change the way you think about others. Jesus quoted the Old Testament saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Everyone is your neighbor. Does your thinking need to change too?

The Least Likely

Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:13-17; Leviticus 19:16-18; Zechariah 7:8-10; Matthew 5:13-16 (day six)

“And who is my neighbor?” he asked (Luke 10:29). That is a wonderful and honest question. It was honest because the lawyer asking Jesus wanted to know the limits of the second greatest commandment; surely it doesn’t mean for us to love everyone. It was a wonderful question because Jesus’ answer serves as a great reminder for us as to whom we are called to love in every day life.

Jesus uses a simple parable to say that even the least likely person is your neighbor. The one on the opposite side of the road. The one with opposing views. The one no one else will love. The bloodied. The violated. The poor. The ones we normally would try to avoid when we are too busy, or because their need is too great. The least likely person is our neighbor. Will we love our neighbor? Will we shine our light to our neighbor? I am willing to repent of lovelessness, and eager to learn how to love as I ought.