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9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Guarding something, in a military sense, brings with it some well-known realities. The guard is to be vigilant, not sleeping, listening intently for things not typical for the setting. They hold their weapon in a ready state, with the purpose of being quick to respond to a threat. It isn’t an easy thing to do because, most of the time, there aren’t situations where a defensive response is required. But, when it is needed, a proper response must occur without hesitation. It just has to happen.

Just like the soldier guarding something or someone from harm, we keep, or guard, the command from Jesus to love one another. Jesus, the only Son of the Creator God, loved us so fully, he purposefully and willfully laid his shredded back on the rough cross, watching the Romans pound rough spikes into his hands and feet. This is the love we’re asked to guard. This is the love we’re to be vigilant and purposeful with. This is the love we’re to share with each other. This is the love we have from Christ.

With this demonstration of love by Jesus, how can we get angry with others, expressing something closer to hate rather than the love of Christ? We smile at them as we greet and share a story or two together, but as soon as we go our own way, we slip into bad habits, demonstrating the opposite of what Jesus taught. Today, join me in reflecting on the warning signs in your own relationships where justification of this anger begins to be acceptable. Remember, Jesus loves you and died for your forgiveness.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. – Matthew 5:21-22 [Emphasis mine] 

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By Rich Obrecht

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