Have you ever been Bible thumped?
Perhaps, recently, by one of these:
Genesis 19:1-5, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Corinthians 6:9-10, Timothy 1:9-10, Romans 1:21-31
I have a few bruises, too. I can just about recite those clobber verses with my eyes closed.
So, yes. I’ve read them.
(I think it’s safe to say we’ve pretty much all read them.)
Still, often, when I write, I find these verses are thrown like stones. At me. At others. My skin is getting thicker by the day. My bruises heal.
How about yours?
More and more, I feel the need to publicly say,
“Yes! Thank you. I have read them. And I study them. And I thoughtfully consider what they mean, in past and in present.”
These verses are not black and white. There is context. Culture. Translation. Two sides to the argument (at least). Yes. I know. Thank you.
But, more importantly, I want to publicly say (shout?),
“And, I have also read these.”
You shall not take vengeance nor bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. –Leviticus 19:18
When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. –1 Samuel 18:1
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. -2 Samuel 1:26-27
Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in the mother’s womb, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything. –Ecclesiastes 11:5
He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” –Matthew 22:37-39 (Also Mark 12:30-31 and Luke 10:27-28)
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. –Luke 6:43-46
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal live. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. –John 3:16-17
Owe no one anything, except to love on 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
Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another. –Romans 14:13
If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. –Romans 14:15
I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion. – 1 Corinthians 7:6-9
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth or action. –1 John 3:18
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.-1 John 4:7-8, 12
(I know that Jesus said to turn the other cheek, so forgive me, Lord. It is my hope that these are more “love pats” than retaliation “clobbers.” All emphasis my own.)
Post also shared with Reconciling Ministries Network.