“Do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the Lord.”  Zechariah 8:17  

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:32

I thought I would pay attention to the News for an everyday story to open today’s devotion.  “Be kind … tenderhearted … forgiving.”  I’ve been watching, watching, watching ………  political division and accusations, shootings and carjackings, bombing and war.  

I looked away from the top stories and yes, some employers are making a point of giving former inmates work opportunities.  Some individuals and communities are helping immigrants settle in.  Bombing victims in a local mosque encouraged forgiveness.  I look around myself and see neighbors helping neighbors; friendly words between strangers while shopping; roadside assistance from an empathetic driver.   

We are commanded to live kindness.  We should honor and respect our elders.  We must not kill or hate, be disloyal, take away from others, say snide things about others and gossip, be jealous of their possessions and success.  Last Sunday we worshiped at a small country church where my brother and his wife raised their family.  The pastor said most are not “called” to be pastors or missionaries.  But all are “called” to be kind, if not necessarily newsworthy events.  Hopefully, we won’t come upon someone beaten up and robbed by the side of the road as in the Bible story.  But we are to love one another and be hospitable … we might be conversing with angels.  

At that little church, with 11 others, we confessed “we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.”  We asked God to forgive us as we forgive others.  That’s a risky petition but we have an advocate in Christ Jesus and the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us.  

“We are called to act with justice.  We are called to love tenderly.  We are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.”*  Amen                                                                                                               *David Haas  

Verla Olson