Reflecting the Bridegroom’s Magnanimity in Interpersonal Relations: Doing Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do To You
The next level of kedusha [Covenant-based set-apartness] that YaHuWaH calls forth from His Bride-People is magnanimity. That means reflecting both His complete understanding of human frailty and need and His compassionate response to same – and doing so in real, noticeable, atmosphere-shifting ways. The words with which the Bridegroom-King chooses to address this important Kingdom issue are:
You are not to oppress your neighbor
Nor are you to strip/plunder.
Lo-talin pe’ulat sachir itcha ad-boqer
The wages of him who is hired are not to remain with you all night until morning.
Lo-tekalel cheresh v’lifnei iver lo titen michshol
Do not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind,
V’yareta me’Eloheicha Ani YaHuWaH
But fear your Elohim: I am YaHuWaH.
Lo ta’ashok. One essential aspect of what loving our neighbor means is that we do not oppress him. The Hebrew verb our English Bibles translates as ‘oppress’ in this passage is ashak [ayin, shin, kaf]. It means to take a position against, to strive against, and/or to seek or take advantage in relation to someone. Our Bridegroom- King’s Lo ta’ashok empowerment means that we are to view all interactions or relationships with any human being as a wonderful opportunity for us to release life, health, peace, and blessing into another person’s life – not as a game, contest, or personal challenge we want to ‘win’. We are not to approach interactions or relationships militarily; we are to approach them covenantally. The reason YaHuWaH has us interact with or be in relationship with people is not so that we can get anyone to give us anything [be it wealth, respect, or anything else], nor is it to make them to do what we want or behave as we think right or believe what we say we believe. The reason we in the Redeemed Community of YaHuWaH interact with other human beings is solely about spreading the love, mercy, and wisdom of our King.
Lo tigzol. A second aspect of this particular ‘weightier matters’ download is that we are to learn to never dishonor YaHuWaH by plundering or robbing from our neighbor. The Hebrew word our English Bibles translates as ‘plunder’ or ‘rob’ in this passage is gazal [gimel, zayin, lamed]. Gazal means to strike a person so as to strip the flesh off of him. This can be done physically or verbally. It can even be done with disapproving looks. YaHuWaH’s lo tigzol empowerment reminds us that flesh-killing and flesh-shredding are not our business. Our Bridegroom-King knows how to kill the flesh in the most agreeable and healing way. We tend to slash; He gently debrides. We tend to flay; He tenderly binds up. YaHuWaH has called us to bring health and well-being, restoration, and healing, to mankind. It is therefore never going to be our job to point out or try to beat down or kill any other man or woman’s flesh.
Lo talin . . . Lo tekalel . . . Lo titen mischol. Another aspect of loving our neighbor involves recognizing his limitations – what he can and cannot afford, what he can and cannot see, and what he can and cannot hear – and neither judging him for that blindness/deafness nor taking advantage of it to the person’s hurt. The One we represent knows the weaknesses and inadequacies of every human being we will ever see or meet far better than we do; and He is all about healing and restoring. It is only confused and broken human beings who are into judging, mocking, and making life harder for people.
The world is broken. Is that news? All the people around you are broken. Why do you expect so much from them? All the world’s institutions, organizations, and political systems are broken. Are you really so foolish as to trust in any of those anyway?
The good news is that there is still a way to fix the world. But it starts with getting fixed ourselves. For starters, we are not to even try to fix the world until we can appreciate it as it is, for what it is. And we are not to try to fix another person until we can love them as they are, where they are, for what they are.
Our King plans on empowering us to bring health and healing into our little corner of the world. But we have to start looking at the corner of the world in which we are assigned influence by our King with ‘fresh eyes’. We cannot allow ourselves to feel, much less express, revulsion at any component or facet of our corner of the world, or anyone in it. We are not here to point out blind spots, to judge evil, to condemn folly, or to criticize vanity. We are not here to find or obsess about faults. We are here to search the rubble and the carnage around us for any and every gram of potential for goodness that yet remains. Much such potential is there, dear ones, just waiting for someone who will look past the debris, find the sparks of Divine Creativity, and care enough to pick them the smoldering embers out of the ashes, dust them off, breathe life into them, and lovingly set them free.
The people of your world are waiting. And all creation groans in eager expectation. Are you coming?
Author: Bill Bullock