Listening to and reading God’s word is a little bit like watching a beloved movie, over and over again. No matter how many times you’ve seen or heard it, there is always something you missed the first time.
Sunday’s readings were no different. “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:8-10).
For some reason as I listened I realized that none of this was about me, but rather it is all about the way I treat those around me. None of it is about how I must be “treated.” It really makes no difference whether “I feel” as if I have been slighted, because I am still suppose to give and to serve, regardless of how I am treated in return. It is about how I “want” to be treated, not how I “am” treated.
“But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself” (Ez 33:7-9).
We are asked to have moral courage; the courage to tell others when they are “at risk” in not following God’s commandments. This isn’t always a pleasant task. There is only satisfaction when our warnings bring change. There are also those times when change does not come and a friend may be lost. But if I have prayed for the right words, if my reason for holding someone accountable, if my corrective words were said with love and encouragement, then God’s heavenly reward will be and is much more important than how I feel now.
Is it no wonder then that when I feel the most joy, when I feel the most hope, when I feel the most love and satisfaction is when I have given of myself unconditionally, not when I have received something — because it truly is not about me. It is about how I am called to love.
Love one another, not to receive something in return, but to fulfill God’s commandments. This is what we are called to do as Christians. Our reward will be heaven.
Heavenly Father: Praise be Your way. Help me to be granted a clear understanding of how You want me to serve. Help me to seek Your rewards in heaven even when I am not feeling Your rewards here on earth. Thank You for giving me moments of joy in the rewards of satisfaction I feel when I see Your love being returned to others. Amen.
© 2011 Charlotte Upah, Monday Morning Reflection