My grandchildren are 2 and 3 years old. I wish I had a dime for every time I have pleaded with them, and my own children before them, to just “play nice”. No hitting, no shoving, and no snatching what the other person holds. I don’t have to read much in the news to find myself saying the same thing to the adults in my world. Saddest of all is when I see the same bickering and positioning and even bullying among those who claim the name of Christ. Why does humankind have as much trouble sharing our planet as toddlers do in sharing their toys? Why are we so driven to be king of the mountain? For those of us who had the fortune to be born on top, how can we turn a blind eye to all those on the downhill side being stepped on in the upward scramble?
Saturday, December 10 is Human Rights Day commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. This document outlines the ways that people should treat each other “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” It is a way of telling the world how to play nice with each other. The same thing God has been telling us for thousands of years now. He does not use the term “rights” in Scripture, but He does give considerable instruction to His people, those called according to His purpose, in how they should treat those around them. Over half of the Ten Commandments are about how to treat others. Much of Leviticus deals with fair and just treatment of each other. Over and over the prophets warned people that God is not impressed with worship and sacrifice in the absence of caring for the poor and oppressed, the alien and the fatherless. We see the kindness of Jesus to women, to widows, to children, to the sick, and to the disadvantaged. We can see the disposition of God by seeing His standards of treatment for others. Loving God cannot be separated from loving your neighbor, because if we love God we will imitate Him, and if we don’t we will be left to our own purposes. To act in a way consistent with the character of God is the calling of all those who claim to follow Christ. Playing nice means more than not being mean, it means noticing when others are in trouble and giving them a helping hand.
For the Bible study:
Down Victory Road
"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:57