Beside Still Waters: Kindness lives on

Therese Apel

When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” – Luke 13:12-16

This passage is the Biblical way of saying, “It costs you zero dollars to be kind.”

The church leaders hated Jesus so much by now — but for what? For doing things by a law their heart said was right and their egos said would destroy their position. If Jesus was right, they no longer had the power to condemn and direct. They no longer had the control over the masses who looked to them for salvation. There was no way most of them were giving up that platform because it could almost be said it put them next to God in importance. They were the vessel, and without their dictation, no one could reach HIm.

Until Jesus came. Suddenly the people didn’t need a Pharisee to find forgiveness. They didn’t need “a holy man” by the church’s definition to heal them spiritually, mentally, or physically. All they had to do was approach Him and ask for help, and suddenly their sins were forgiven and they were healed.

No wonder they hated Jesus. They had lost their rule by fear and legality to His rule of love and mercy. As a matter of fact, His greatest commandment (or possibly, could we say “law” instead of commandment?) was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. There’s no condemnation there. The Pharisees and their dozens of hundreds of laws are rendered useless.

Meanwhile, grace wins. The love of a Savior for a woman with a demon that bent her back or a man who couldn’t crawl to a pool or a woman who had bled for 12 years… Jesus didn’t stop to see if they had offered sacrifice that week. He didn’t stop to ask their sexual preference or their political party. HE HEALED THEM BECAUSE THEY CAME TO HIM, or in the case of the crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda, because He chose to go to him.

These acts of kindness and love live throughout history. Spending your energy to be kind and to care for your neighbor — to show love for no reason — live on in the eyes of God. Your acts of judgement put you in grave danger.

Love your neighbor as yourself.
I love you, neighbor.

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