Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the Lord. Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin.
Initially reading this the other morning, it almost knocked me out of my seat. God’s word is so rich and prophetic. This was found in some of the greatest instructions given to man. This was really two commands but let me ask you when you see these words, what do you hear God speak to you?
In the midst of a time of social injustice but then seeing God give instructions to the children of Israel about the treatment of mankind- not much has changed. So why do we not take His commandments to heart? God is such a planner that He knew the world would not follow suit with certain key instructions if they were not put in place. Let me ask you, where do you position yourself? Do you say “that was the Old testament but we live in the New.” If that is your response you may need to check your perspective.
God’s word does not change. We change and we attempt to twist the Word to fit our own desires and benefit. When I read this, while studying, it spoke to me because of where as a nation we are right now. Perhaps you are experiencing it too? This command was spoken to Moses by God but it was for the entire community of Israel. God’s standard always requires the bar to be raised. That bar is the standard of true living in a world where injustice and sin is prevalent. Will you check yourself?
When I say check yourself it is a mantra to examine and see really where one is. It is the ability to stop and take introspect on what is happening in our own existence. There was a song released in 1982 by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five album titled “The Message”. The primus for the song was giving insight into what is happening even now in our communities and this was over 35 years ago. I am not writing to give credence to Grandmaster Flash (for those who know who they were) but I am making a point that bringing awareness to what is prevalent in society is our duty. If you do not feel any connection to what is around happening, please do check yourself.
There are three things that God is addressing in this passage of scripture. Often just as we view a lake from the surface all appears to be serene from above but when you immerse yourself within; there is an entire system in place that if we never take time,we miss. We miss the undercurrent that is aggressively flowing from within. We miss life that we never thought existed until we take a look.
The undertone of this passage addresses checking our level of compassion, our commitment and our convictions. When God declared these words to Moses ages ago, he was giving a blueprint of how to conduct ourselves personally in community. How God had originally designed things man has stepped away from. What he had for us as a whole. An entire list of instructions was given but for whatever reason these two caught my attention and felt compelled to unpack them here. My prayer is that as you read your Spirit connects with the essence of what Almighty God wanted to say and find yourself in these two commands. Please do not misinterpret, I am not saying that there are those not following the Lords instruction. What I am attempting to do is get us to find ourselves, slow us down enough so that the Father can speak to us right where we are. Let us check ourselves.
Three areas that I believe we all can learn in if we think about them:
Check your level of compassion when it comes to the broken or fainthearted. When injustice or wrong is taking place what comes to mind? Do you feel saddened or compelled to do something? Do we stop and think if we were in another’s shoes what would Jesus want us to do? If it was our children or parents going through such a time what would we do?
Check your level of commitment to God? Do we commit only when we see the return on our investment as the stock market but when there is no return we look for another? Do we look the other way when the command says don’t stand idly by when a neighbor’s life is threatened. You may be thinking this does not pertain to my commitment to God. In actuality it does because if we are to love our neighbor as ourselves- how are we doing that if we do not want to embrace or even attempt to understand our brothers and sisters. Yet this was what Jesus was teaching. Jesus loved the unlovable people and it was all because of His commitment to the Father. Where is ours today?
Check your level of convictions for what is right? Do you confront or address problems or shutter or keep silent on the sidelines. Please do not misunderstand me I am not saying that we need to rise up and take aggressive action but some action should be pursued. Even as simple as educating a peer or stranger about a thought that is not correct. Or perhaps educating yourself with what is happening. This could be among family or others that we do not normally say anything but sometimes through our silence we can be part of the problem. Do we speak out about Christ love and show it in our daily interactions. Check your convictions.
Take a moment to really have an honest look on the inside. I am asking the Lord to work on me as I check myself in these same areas. If you find yourself as I did lacking in some of these just work on it. Please let us stop and pray and ask God to help us to do better. Let this be the starting point to do better and ask God to reveal ways of how this can be done. Thank God for the check.
As always be encouraged