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Friday, March 10, 2006

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Ezekiel 18:21-28
Psalm 130
Matthew 5:20-26

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the highest standards

"Everyone who grows angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment." —Matthew 5:22

Jesus has a higher standard for personal relationships than we do. No one but Christ demands such love in our relationships. Here are some of Jesus' standards for relationships:

  1. immediate removal of resentment, unforgiveness, and anger (Mt 5:25),
  2. loving enemies even to laying down our lives for them (Mt 5:44; 1 Jn 3:16),
  3. sharing fellowship with the poor, lame, and blind (Lk 14:13),
  4. anticipating each other in showing respect (Rm 12:10),
  5. building up one another instead of acting out of rivalry and jealousy (Rm 15:2),
  6. unity with one another as Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are One (Jn 17:21),
  7. no judging of people's motives (Mt 7:1), no lustful glances, thoughts, or words (Mt 5:28; Eph 5:3-4),
  8. serving each other at great personal cost (Lk 10:33-35), and
  9. bearing one another's burdens, and suffering with others (Gal 6:2; 1 Cor 12:26).

Jesus' standards for relationships are impossible by human power. However, "nothing is impossible with God" (Lk 1:37).

Prayer:  Father, beginning this Lent may I have an impossible, unconditional love for the people You've put in my life.

Promise:  "If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all My statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die." —Ez 18:21

Praise:  When her husband became abusive, Clara prayed for him all the more.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Job Performance for Jesus on audio AV 43-3 or video V-43.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 16, 2005

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