January 4, 2014.
Thank you so much for supporting me in this endeavor that I am undertaking. It means so much to hear those little words of encouragement from friends and family, and even to see the followers I’m gaining that I do not know who they are. Relationships are the essence of life, and in them I believe we can see The Lord most clearly. This is what we are going to meditate on for a few minuets today.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” ”
As you can probably tell, I love the story of the creation. But perhaps there is something about the creation of man that is more interesting to me than the creation of the world. Here is the first time in all creation that God says something is not good. He spoke light into existence and called it good. He created the moon and stars and called them good. He made all living things and ultimately man, calling each step of the process good. But when God sees man alone, he says it is not good. I think we should take note of this and realize that we were created to have relationships. A relationship with The Lord, a relationship with creation and also a relationship with other people. I’m sure most of us have had the experience of being alone at some point in our lives. I’m convinced that loneliness is one of the worst pains that we can experience. One of the greatest gifts that our maker has ever given us is other people; unfortunately, as with all the other gifts we have been given, mankind has marred the gift of relationships. And it isn’t a new concept:
“In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”
In the second generation after the fall, we had already soiled the beautiful relationships God had made. Cain’s actions show us the first known murder, and with it the strain and conflict he brought to his family. What sorrow had sin and death given to our world!
Throughout history, the conflict has remained. Cultures have arisen against cultures, peoples against peoples and even nations against themselves. All ultimately the effect of pride and greed. Perhaps that’s the reason our Lord was so big on building relationships when he came to earth. Christ came to set the path straight, and his words teach us how to change the world:
““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your
heavenly Father is perfect.”
This is truly a hard teaching. Our Lord wasn’t speaking vainly when he said these words, however. He intends for each one of us to take heed and listen to them, subsequently applying them to our lives. Christ is concerned about the relationships we make. In fact, it is one of our defining fruits as Christians:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.””
Our Lord spent time with people. He talked with them, ate with them and genuinely got to know them. And not just the people you and I would like. He hung out with people we probably don’t want to even look at. The Pharisees criticized him for this. But he continued anyway.
As you go throughout the rest of the day, I encourage you to join in with me in effort to see the relations we have and the ones we are building, and seriously take into consideration of how we can improve them. As I said at the beginning, a little encouragement goes a long way. We are called to love. We need to be looking for ways to build up rather than ways to tear down. Let us not forget that in the midst of anger and frustration.
Daily Suggested Reading: Gen. 2, Matt, 5-7.
May The Lord grant you his peace that passes all understanding.