Tag Archives: Golden Rule

Jeremiah 14, 15, 16; 1 Timothy 5

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 1Timothy 5:1-2

Paul’s first letter to Timothy is full of instruction in how Timothy should be conducting himself in ministry and as a believer; and it continues today to promote the same behavior for me. The verses above stand out to me as an extension of what Jesus referred to as the second most important commandment…to love my neighbor as myself.

Paul reminds me to ‘not rebuke but to encourage’. To rebuke means to find fault with or reprimand severely; and interestingly the origins of the word stem from the French word that means ‘to hack down.’ I think of times that I have been rebuked, more often in an unloving way, and I remember feeling like I had been hacked to pieces with the tongue. It has torn me down, and made my heart harden. It has caused me to build up walls of defense, and even, at times, turn my eyes away from God. Often, when I have done something that may warrant rebuke, I know it and am already chastising myself; I don’t want or need someone else to highlight my wrongs.

What I desire instead is encouragement. I want to be treated in a way that helps me make better choices, that reassures me that I am still valuable, still worthy. I want to be honored as a child of God. I want to be loved back into life.

Paul tells me to treat each person, according to their age, as family – older men as fathers, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters. I am to honor them and respect them, and encourage them in life and in their journey with the Lord. I am to love them the way that I also want to be loved.

He also stresses the importance of purity. I believe that this purity relates to being chaste, morally pure in regards to the opposite gender and innocence; but I don’t think that’s all it means. ‘Purity’ also relates to truthfulness, authenticity, and freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, or pollutes, in this case, the relationship.

My walk with Christ is about relationship. Initially, my journey is connecting with Him, building relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then from the fruit of my relationship with God, stems relationship with others – the opportunity to show a piece of God to other people, while also seeing a piece of Him through them in return.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your relationship with me. Thank You for loving me and reassuring me throughout my journey. Help me remember to be an encourager to others, rather than a fault finder. Help me use my words to build up, rather than hack down. Help me be pure toward everyone I meet, in regards to moral uprightness, and also authenticity. Help me offer freedom to others as You offer freedom to me. Help me to love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Definitions and etymology found at www.dictionary.com.

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1 Samuel 27; 1 Corinthians 8; Ezekiel 6; Psalm 44

…We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all. (MSG)

…Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes. (NLT)

…We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs you up with pride, but love builds up. If you think you know something, you do not yet know anything as you should. But if any person loves God, that person is known by God. (NCV)

1 Corinthians 8:1b-3

Right now God is working on my heart in the area of “love”; not in the romantic sense (eros), not even in the brotherly sense (philos), but in the agape, unconditional, freely given, never changing sense.

What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to love my husband? My children? My friends? My enemies?…

I am learning that it is vital for ALL of my relationships for me to focus on love. Loving with intention. Loving without reservation. Loving whole-heartedly. My goal must be to always seek to ‘keep my love on’.

I am learning that love is transformative. That when I love without inhibition, real freedom is established and my relationships flourish – I am free to be who I am. You are free to be who you are. Even when we don’t see eye to eye. Even when we have different opinions, different revelations, different ways of living life.

But be careful that your freedom does not cause those who are weak in faith to fall into sin. (NCV)

Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not [somehow] become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or overscrupulous [giving them an impulse to sin]. (AMP)

But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track. (MSG)

1 Corinthians 8:9

I am learning that when I make the conscious choice to love above all else, the enemy tempts me to fall into old patterns of pride, anger, fear, and lack of self-control, perverting liberty with bad attitude, with a ‘holier than thou’ outlook.

I easily fall back into believing that I am right, believing that my way is the only way. I substitute true freedom given by God, for captivity. I forfeit true love for my ‘right’ to live in the distorted ‘freedoms’ of my own understanding. My ‘entitlement’ to do what I want to do, how I want to do it, becomes a hindrance for others. My sin causes others to sin. Not only did I get off the path of love, I also risk pulling others off with me. I withdraw into my own little world, separating myself from the things I most desire.

I am learning that breaking those old molds means going back to the Cross. It means putting my focus back on God’s love (John 3:16). It means obeying His commands – to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind; to love my husband, children, friends, and enemies as I love myself (Matthew 22:35-40). It means to love on purpose, to abide in a culture of honor.

I am learning that living IN love is a process. And, some days it is easy…

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms