Pondering: Rules, Love, and Judgement

This morning my two youngest children wanted to watch something on Roku. The house rule is, If you have the remote, you don’t get to choose what everyone will watch, someone else gets to decide. Well, after giving them permission, I heard a bunch of yelling and hollering. I called them into the kitchen, and after much deliberation, it was revealed that my youngest who did not have the remote was insisting on my daughter choosing something that he wanted to watch–something which she already intended to do. Assumptions…

As I spoke to my children I started explaining to them the reason for the rule. It isn’t so that they can beat each other over the head with the rule itself. The purpose is to teach them to be kind and considerate of others. So, by demanding someone follow the rule, my youngest was actually not being kind or considerate, not to mention, not giving his sister the chance to do it before making his demand.

How often in our faith walks do we point out how someone isn’t following the Torah (law), or we wrongly assume that they aren’t keeping the Torah? I know I have been guilty. As human beings we sometimes get caught up doing something the right way, and are less concerned with understanding why the commandments are there in the first place. (Perhaps this is a sign of our own spiritual immaturity.)

Paul tells us that “love is the fulfillment of the Law” (Romans 13:8-10) because the Torah is our tutor–the means by which we learn how to love others. (Galatians 3:24) But how often have we shoved the Torah down someone’s throat instead of loving them right where they are at? When we do not love our brothers and sisters, but instead judge them, we are not operating in the Spirit of the Torah, and as the apostle John points out,

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:20-21

Yeshua asked, “Who are my brothers?” and then answered his own question with, “whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother…” (Matthew 12:50).

The problem with judging other people is often due to the fact that we look at their outward behaviour and can’t see what is going on in their hearts–only God can see what is there. Perhaps someone is doing God’s will at a particular moment in time.

What I am learning is, it is better to judge others favorably (Leviticus 19:15). Judge them the way you want to be judged, and love them the way you want to be loved.

God cares far more about how we treat each other than the way we follow the commandments in the Torah.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I pray we will all cling to His rules (commandments), not because we want to be right, but because we realize that they, along with the example set by our Messiah (Ephesians 5:2), are our only hope for ever truly learning how to love our fellow man.

Love and light,