People that know me know that I am a lover of words. I love how words come together, take shape and form a deep thought or a picture that can impact my heart. Words stir me up, open my soul and feed my hunger for Truth. I love the Word.
I love those times when a verse of scripture stops me cold, apprehends my attention and gives me something to chew on for a while. Here is a verse that had impact on me:
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. BUT if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another. Gal. 5:14-15
Talk about graphic language! Those verses are addressed to believers. “BITE – DEVOUR – CONSUME – ONE ANOTHER. Sounds kind of cannibalistic. Paul is pulling no punches here. These are mouth activities. Our critical and judgmental words have the power to divide, devour and consume our own family of believers. Think about the picture here that Paul used by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Ouch.
The truth is that we are indeed hungry people. We are looking for something to satisfy us, to meet our deepest longings and to fill our empty places. We know (theologically that is) that only the Lord can genuinely and completely meet our deepest desires because what we are actually looking for is LIFE. The WAY, TRUTH and LIFE are personified in Him. But, life in Him is actually lived out among His people. And thus we have the rub. What do we do?
For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” (John 6:33)
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst (John 6:35)
The challenge, whether it is missions, churches, families or marriages is always relationships. Dean Sherman likes to say “every problem in the world is a problem of relationships. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the _______”.
I believe the Bible, in so many words, is saying “go for it, take the risk of relationships, love boldly, give freely, step out of your comfort zones, go after great friendships, marriages and families. Be sure you are quick both to ask for and give forgiveness as often as necessary– BUTnever ever try to find your life’s meaning, purpose and value from another. That is reserved for ME and ME alone.
Chew on that for a while.