Friday, July 17, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Can We Learn to Treat Each Other as God Treats Us?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Can we humans learn to treat each other as God treats us? Jesus told a parable of a man to whom the king forgave a debt of "ten thousand talents" and then went out and grabbed a poor fellow servant by the throat who owed him a mere hundred denarii, and ordered him, "Pay me!" (Matt. 18:23-35).

Jesus taught that we must forgive others as God has forgiven us. But that of course is impossible unless we understand corporate guilt--that we of ourselves have no righteousness, it is all imputed to us from Christ, its only source.

Enlightened by the Holy Spirit to understand and appreciate what Christ has done for us, we immediately look upon others in a new light. We reason from cause to effect; we sense that if our circumstances from birth had been the same, we might have turned out no better than this person we are tempted to hate. It's not a matter of superficial, transient emotion; it's a principle--the sin of someone else would be our sin but for the grace of Christ! This is not excusing the responsibility of sinners, or abolishing morality; it is redemptive human relations. It is "letting the mind of Christ be in" us.

Despised by the world in personal or international relationships, this heavenly principle of agape transcends all religions and cultures. It costs far less than even one stealth bomber, and it works miracles in saving individuals and nations from ruinous violence.

This principle is based on the gospel truth of what Christ accomplished for the world. The Bible speaks of Him as "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42), and "the Savior of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10). The rock-solid foundation of the gospel saves all who believe it from fanaticism or self-destructive naiveté.

Can national or state governments exercise the principle of agape? No, for they are secular institutions; but those who administer these governments can personally exercise that principle. Without any union of church and state, they can, like Daniel of old, seek wisdom from God at every step (see Dan. 9:1-5, for example). "Righteousness exalts a nation" (Prov. 14:34). All nations need it!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 4, 1999.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."