Monday, March 24th, 2014
Twelve Steps To Heaven (Part 5)
Step #5: Don't Harm Your Neighbor
Lord, who may abide in Your Tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your Holy Hill?
He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor...
Psalm 15:1-3 (NKJV)
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife... or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Exodus 20:16-17 (NASB)
In the Old Testament, God has a lot to say about how we treat our neighbors. Two of His top Ten Commandments (#s 9 & 10) are what not to do to our neighbors. God even ties life or death, Heaven or hell, to their benefit or harm by our hands or mouths. 'Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy' (Psalm 101:5).
When Jesus came, He fulfilled God's Laws--and simplified Them. Nevertheless, where our neighbors are concerned, Jesus magnified God's Word:
'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first Commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other Commandment greater than These' (Mark 12:30-31). 'The righteous is a guide to his neighbor' (Proverbs 12:26).
Maybe you're like the smart lawyer in Luke 10, thinking 'Who is my neighbor?' (Luke 10:29). His question prompted the story of the Good Samaritan: a stranger who stopped to help an injured man on the side of the road. This injured man had been ignored by his own people.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: your neighbors are the injured people God places in your path. They're next door. They're on your street and your set. They're at church, work and school. They're the fans who follow you on stages and screens. They may be torn down by life: lonely, poor, confused or forsaken.
You are their hope. God sent you to care for them. How? However you can! 'Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor' (1 Corinthians 10:24). Love them and lead them--in any way your heart directs.
Harming them by word or deed will pull you down. Helping them by word or deed will raise you (and them) up--toward Heaven.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Twelve Steps To Heaven series.