Justice and Love~ Br. Milan Komadina, Novice

Reading the Bible is very important for every one of us. It could give us strength, encouragement, love, hope, enlarge our faith and also is a way of communicating with God. Often, when we read the Bible we tend to read the New Testament. It seems that in the New Testament we could find more stories about love and forgiveness. This is why I believe more people rather read the New Testament. However, it is good to remember that the New Testament was written based on the Old Testament. And even though in the Old Testament one could read more about things that are related to rituals, knowing the Commandments of God, sacrificing and punishing for sins and it seems that The Old one is a bit harder to read, we could also find some interesting chapters talking about the importance of love and forgiveness. In today`s reading we read Leviticus 19:17/18:

”Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

Love your neighbor as yourself. These are words from the Old Testament. It was not only mentioned to love our neighbor which would be also a strong Commandment. It was written to love our neighbor as our own selves. As we live in the time when modern psychology teaches us to be only self-oriented and maybe even a bit selfish, it may be hard for a modern human to love others the way they love their selves. But this is what Bible says. Bible is teaching us to love and forgive. And through love and forgiveness we might also experience peace. Sometimes we may feel that our neighbor is not doing fair enough to us. We may even have an evil neighbor who is envious, jealous or who even make some problems to us. Bible also teaches us to forgive. Here is another challenge for modern human. We usually tend to seek justice and when someone causes us pain or does something unjust we would like to revenge. But life could often teach us that God is the one who sees everything and God is just. In Matthew 5:38-48 it is written:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborand hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

As we read the New Testament goes even one step further. It does not only teaches us to love our neighbors but it also teaches us to love our enemies. This is a really hard lesson but we have the greatest teacher, the Lord Himself, Jesus who showed us how that love could work. When he was on the cross, dying in pains he did not condemn his enemies, but he prayed for them. This is useful to remember every time when we feel depressed or when it seems that the life is unjust, painful or when we feel that we cannot deal with our daily hardships. We all have our crosses, but God will never give us the cross that we could not bear. Sometimes some hardships or unjust situations may be good lessons to make us better person. Or those could be only one step to some good things that God is preparing for us. We should trust God and rely on Him because everything that is happening to us is happening with a reason. God has a personalized approach to each one of us. Through the years I learnt one important lesson. God is always leading us and sometimes when we think that something is not good for us, God knows why it actually is good because he sees the future and he knows the outcome.

With my wish and prayer for you all to learn about God`s wisdom and grace, to let Him guide your life and being trustful and faithful may He bless you all in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.