Journal Entry // August 17, 2022
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (ESV)2 Corinthians 13:11
The manner of loving your neighbor is summed up well in this verse Paul uses to close out 2 Corinthians. There are four objectives we should keep in mind as we live in this world among so many varying people and cultures and personalities and spiritual awareness: restoration, comfort, agreement, and peace. We would do well to keep this at the forefront of our mind as we engage with people on a daily basis. This not only includes the people we see and are face-to-face with regularly, but also the people we may never meet and only hear about through the news, books, or sharing of stories. How we love people demonstrates our understanding of the love of Christ in and for us. How can we profess to be followers of Christ and have the Spirit dwelling and at work within us, when these four principles are not evident and on display. We should demonstrate our love for Christ by aiming for restoration, comforting one another, agreeing with one another, and living in peace.
This should not be a difficult endeavor as I consider what Paul is saying. Surely the work of the Spirit in my heart should lead me to display these four traits. I see my heart wanting these things and feel my mind acknowledging the truth and importance of them, but I also see the temptation to ignore these responses to any and every situation. Do I aim for restoration or am I seeking only to see those who I deem guilty to be punished and removed? Christ would have me aim for restoration. There must be consequences to faulty and sinful decisions, but these must never be a means of shutting someone out. No, I am to work to see that even as the person goes through the consequences of his sin that he is also restored in faith. The restoration of the eternal soul of this person is far more important than any nominal earthly consequence they should or may be judgement to.
Comfort one another… Agree with one another… Live in peace. This is the outworking of the selfless humility of a person secure in their relationship with Christ. As I rest in the comfort of Christ and as I have his agreement and peace within me, I too am to live out these qualities among the people. I should bring comfort to those who are hurting and in need. This comfort should rightly be material at times, but more importantly I should bring the comfort of Christ among them. Sharing the love of Christ in a tangible observable manner. Engaging with them to be the hands and feet of Christ. I am to live at peace with everyone. This is humility in action as well. The peace of God at work in me will overflow out of my heart and into the lives of others. I can live at peace with everyone, even those who hate and despise me. I can live at peace with those who live contrary to the commandments of Christ. This doesn’t mean I condone or endorse their actions, but it does mean that I bring the peace of Christ into every interaction and encounter.
This is a tremendous challenge in the world as it is today. Restoration, comfort, and peace are not qualities that are revered in this world any longer. These are the qualities of a godly person seeking to be humble and dependent upon Christ alone. As I find my restoration in Christ, as I find my comfort in Christ, as I find my peace in Christ, I will then be able to demonstrate and lavish these same qualities on others as I seek to love them in the name of Christ and for his glory alone.