Journal Entry // June 6, 2022
And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’Acts 22:8 ESV
The church and the people of God, the believers and followers of Jesus are the ambassadors of Christ himself. Each and every person who calls on the name of the Lord is of vital importance. More than that, they are in essence e bodily representation of Jesus himself. The Holy Spirit has come to inhabit and dwell within the heart of each and every person that holds fast to Christ himself for salvation. Each and every person is important, valuable, and distinct. In this verse, we see Jesus not only identifying with those who Saul was persecuting, but was actually the one receiving the persecution.
In my own warped and distorted view, I tend to only view circumstances and situations from my own self-centered point of view. I oftentimes care more about myself than others. That’s not fully accurate. I would say that virtually every breath I take is focused solely on myself. Left to myself, I would become self-righteous, cynical, and narcissistic. Jesus has called me to more than this. He has called me to a life of compassion that sees others as not only valuable and important, but as Jesus himself.
As I focus on loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I realize that I cannot simply focus on this first of the great commandments. The second itself is just as vital – love others as myself. If I am to truly love God with all my heart, then I must do this by loving others. If I say I love Jesus, yet treat my neighbors with contempt then I am a liar. For if I am truly loving Jesus, I will love my neighbor.
How do I love my neighbor? With compassion. With patience. With understanding. With steadfastness. With understanding. I will bear with them even if they are in the wrong. I will bring a gentle rebuke and help them see their error. It’s not for me to change their heart though. Only God can change their heart. I am to bring the truth of God’s word and show humility and passion for following Jesus. I’m not out to win an argument or prove my worth or knowledge. I am simply to love others as Jesus loves them.