Leviticus 27:29 “No person under the ban, who may become doomed to destruction among men, shall be redeemed, but shall surely be put to death.” Commentary by Barnes: “Therefore the application of the word חרם chērem to man is made exclusively in reference to one rightly doomed to death and, in that sense alone, given up to Yahweh. The man who, in a right spirit, either carries out a sentence of just doom on an offender, or who, with a single eye to duty, slays an enemy in battle, must regard himself as God’s servant rendering up a life to the claim of the divine justice …” https://biblehub.com/commentaries/leviticus/27-29.htm
Before I accepted Christ as my savior, I was a person under the ban. That thought occurred to me as I read the law in Leviticus. Yet even though doomed to death, Jesus, my Lord, had my name on His lips to redeem and save me from eternal judgment. I can never fully understand nor forget the immensity of my salvation.
Therefore, I pray for those that I love who have not accepted God’s salvation yet. I am speaking specifically of the family that bears my DNA. As recounted in detail the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and their brethren (Numbers 1), God knows every head of household and all whom He created from my people, the grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Of them all, there are few who talk and walk with God. How my heart hurts to think that I have family who still do not accept Christ as Lord and are figuratively under the ban. Not by man’s hand nor Levitical law, but each is standing on a spring-loaded deathtrap. Reasons for avoiding salvation are many – ignorance, trauma, hypocrisy by Christians, busyness, selfish desires, and shame.
But when I pray for them, whom I love, to come to Christ for redemption, I must ponder my own attitudes and behaviors. Am I willing to pray God’s forgiveness over them? Have I forgiven them? Am I willing to pray for mercy over them? Have I desired judgment instead? Am I willing to pray favor over them? Have I laid down my competitive nature?
There was a book written several years ago by Paul Moots, Becoming Barnabas, The Ministry of Encouragement. Though written for church leaders and laymen in building up of the church congregation, the call to become an encourager spoke to my heart. Moots described several character traits of an encourager. Humility is foundational to the encourager and best defined as knowing one’s spiritual gifts and accepting one’s limitations. Barnabas’ example of humility can be found in how he spoke up for Paul to the apostles in Jerusalem and later his willingness to stand aside in the light of Paul’s greater ministry. Encouragers also should be able to handle conflict. Encouraging others to use their gifts can mean changing my own perspective and that can make me uncomfortable or argumentative especially if I miss how the Holy Spirit is moving in another’s life. Recognizing my faults leads to another character trait of an encourager – vulnerability. I must face my own limitations, fears, challenges, and mistakes and be willing to honestly reflect on why the criticism and resistance. In a way, being vulnerable reminds me of my work as a counselor. We, in the counseling field, have been trained in techniques dubbed motivational interventions. One of my favorites is ‘rolling with resistance.’ By doing this, I do not have to lock horns with anyone even if I disagree or do not have the same understanding. For whom am I to set myself up as the standard or the expert? The pillar underlying all that I do to encourage others should be integrity. No matter what the situation, who the person is, and what our family history has said, I must trust in prayer and the Holy Spirit. Only then will my family see me as trustworthy. Flying off at the handle with a sister or gossiping about a distant cousin will not open the door of anyone’s heart to the divine love of God. Staying focused on the one with whom I am speaking, encouraging them in their God-given gifts (even if they cannot see how God has gifted them), and remaining humbled by the work of the Holy Spirit will settle my nerves. Yes, I am the one who is frantic to get my family saved and my unruly behavior or unrighteous attitude may just be the barrier to that happening.
Dear Lord God, I repent of being a know-it-all, and even of taking on the burden of saving others. Forgive me for laying out a plan of salvation for my family that does not include You and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Reveal to me that which I have said, not said, done or not done that has interfered with Your work in their lives. Let my speech be that of an encourager. Help me to be authentic in becoming humble, vulnerable, able to handle conflict, and demonstrating integrity in all that I do for You and for my family. I love that You love us and have called us to You. Thank You and praise You. Amen.