Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
The beloved parable that someone entitled “The Good Samaritan,” (Luke 10:29-37) was a response to the question, “And who is my neighbor?” As we reflect on Paul’s words in Romans, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor,” we should be asking the same question – who is our neighbor?
We owe it to God, to ourselves, and to every child of God to love, unconditionally. The instruction Jesus offers at the conclusion of his parable is to “go and do likewise,” showing mercy to everyone we meet. Love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, justice – these are just a few of the core values and cornerstone precepts upon which the Christian life is built.
We are regularly reminded not to judge and condemn. We are warned not to seek vengeance or do violence. We are admonished not to divide, but to reconcile; not to destroy, but to create; not to be selfish, but to consider others better than ourselves. Such instructions demand great humility, sacrifice, and courage.
We are in a “political” season, but we are Christians first, before any party or caucus or constituency. Our governing worldview comes from no political party platform, it comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ and the spiritual and ethical reflections of Paul and other New Testament authors. We are followers of Jesus Christ, baptized into a global and eternal fellowship of God’s people, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do God’s work and will. This is who we are in a divisive and broken world – the incarnate body of Christ, united in the prayer that asks “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” There is only one way we will ever see this glorious vision achieved and that will be the day we truly love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Prayer: Gracious God, work a glorious and miraculous change in our hearts, minds, and spirits, moving us beyond our human constructions of politics media influenced thinking, to a place of gospel-based love, compassion, kindness, and care. Break down all the walls and barriers and fences and dividing lines that allow us to take sides. Make us one, Lord, make us one. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.