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Name’s Sake

September 8, 2020

“You shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways or corrupt deeds.” Ezekiel 20:44

The three-day weekend now over (for those who had a three-day weekend), it’s time to reengage work and school. How will we treat one another?

The world would have us view one another in transactional terms. In other words, we are right in treating others according to their deeds. If people act poorly, we can treat them poorly. While it is true that evil and corruption are to be resisted and constrained, it is not true that the actions of others give us permission to treat them in like manner.

Christ commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Since we, in our sin, tend to put ourselves at the center of the world, this is a call to put the needs of those around us front and center. Of course, there are days when we might not like ourselves very much, days when our love for ourselves isn’t a very good baseline for how we treat others. On those days, perhaps, another reminder is needed.

The Lord, speaking through Ezekiel, announces that God will not treat people as they deserve, because it is not in God’s character to do so. God will deal with the people for the sake of God’s own name, which is to say out of God’s own character. God treats people, finally, with love and grace because it is in God’s nature to be loving and graceful.

In baptism, God has given us new birth. We are recreated, renamed, reborn. It is now in our nature to be loving and graceful, too. Yes, sin lurks in our minds and hearts, but these things no longer define us. So today, treat people based not upon what they do or don’t deserve, but for your name’s sake. You are a named child of God. Let this identity guide your interactions today.

Be well, friends. You are loved

Holy God, yours is the name above every name. Thank you for dealing with us through grace. Reborn in you, let us live with mutual love and kindness today. Let our love be a witness to the gospel. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Russian icon of Ezekiel, eighteenth century (public domain).

From → COVID-19

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