The lawbreaker

I was a pretty good Christian . . . until I opened my mouth.

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(Photo: iStock)

A number of years ago, I was browsing through some items on a display table in a large shopping centre. The young sales assistant approached me and kindly asked if I needed help. Without stopping to think, I curtly replied that if I’d needed help, I would have asked.

I have never forgotten how rude I was to that young lady. If I could have the opportunity to apologise now, I would gladly do it. Jesus had me pegged pretty well when He said that “out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). I have often paused for thought, wondering how, as a Christian, I could behave so badly in that situation, and many others. I recognise that my heart is “deceitfully wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9) and that “nothing good lives in me” (Romans 7:18), but that is no excuse because “in Christ I am new creation: the old is gone, and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I have come to the realisation that I have been breaking the most important commandment in the Bible. Which commandment have I been breaking? This one—”A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

If I had allowed Jesus to fill me with His love, I never would have treated that young lady the way I did. In fact, so important did Jesus consider this command that He went on to say that it was the identifying mark of a true disciple—”if you love one another” (v. 35).

I’m a fourth generation Adventist, and have always prided myself on the Bible knowledge that has been passed down to me, and the importance of keeping all of God’s commandments. I did my best to keep the 10, but along the way have neglected the most important commandment of all—to love. The beloved disciple tells me that I am a liar if I profess to love God yet hate my brother (1 John 4:20), so daily I confess my hypocrisy and plead for more love, which is promised in abundance through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

I hope others can see my prayers being answered in me. What about in you?

This devotional was reposted with permission from the February issue of Top News.