“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:17-18 ESV)
“Don’t secretly hate your neighbor. If you have something against him, get it out into the open; otherwise you are an accomplice in his guilt. Don’t seek revenge or carry a grudge against any of your people. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am GOD.” (Leviticus 19:17,18 MSG)
Reading through Leviticus has not been as challenging as I thought it would be. The detail can be a challenge to wade through, but I’m still struck by how this indicates what is important to God. God intended for us to live in community with one another and Leviticus helps us understand how to do that well.
The passage above is an example of the practical guidance that God provides His people. The principle is simple. Speak up when something happens which damages your relationship with your neighbor. Love cares enough to communicate to avoid the bitterness and resentment that silence ultimately bring. Andy Stanley addresses this concept in his series on dealing with the emotions that we often allow to control our lives.
This isn’t just an Old Testament principle. Jesus addresses this directly in the Sermon on the Mount and in Matthew 18. Holding on to anger, resentment, and bitterness is not an option for anyone desiring to love God and neighbor. Action needs to be taken and that action is communication. We might be tempted to use technology to address the need for communication, but I’m convinced that face to face communication is the only way to deal with relational issues. This is especially true if the relationship is broken and the goal is reconciliation. Both parties will need to change for complete reconciliation to occur. While the goal is reconciliation it is not possible for one party to make that happen. It is possible for one party to forgive and let go of the anger, bitterness, and resentment.
I always must remind myself that I cannot control the outcome of any conversation. What I can control is my attitude before, during, and after the conversation.
For my grandchildren:
When someone hurts you, say something to let them know that you care too much for them to stay silent.