05 September 2014

Neighbourly Love

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Today's post reading: Leviticus 19:1-37

Today is the 3rd day of the 16 day plan in my journey of reading, reflection and responding to what the bible says about love. If you'd like to follow alone, join HERE and perhaps start your own journey! Ready to go on this journey with me? Well then, let's get started!

Have I told y'all about the time I was betrayed? Until this day, I firmly believe it was a form of betrayal from a cousin... something I won't forget but can definitely let go... if that even makes sense. But, long story short: I grew up with a culture that strongly believes in education comes first waaay before relationships - so yes, that mean absolutely no boyfriends/girlfriends until it is time to get married. Add that with a protective father; that's who I grew up. I was someone never able to go out, hang out with friends, especially boys, and I was definitely not allowed to have a boyfriend. Luckily (I think), I had my sister and all my other cousins who had to endure the same overbearing rules, so at least I had people who could actually relate to me. But, being kids, of course there are gonna be time when we disobey our parents or even lie to them.

My cousins and I used to be very close. We would tell each other everything, show pictures.. literally just share every thing in our lives with each other since we trusted each other. Like I said, long story short... this of course did not last very long.

One day, two of my cousin (whom shall not be named) decided to share intimate photos of my cousin Neisha, and I (and some of my sister) to their mother; who in turn decided to "anonymously" send it to EVERY SINGLE FAMILY living here in Toronto. What a shocker to come home and see pictures in a yellow envelope with Neisha's pictures of her and her bf. And it was shocker how my pictures of me and bunch of other guys were sent to her house. Luckily for me, my pictures were only sent to her place (that I know of). Neisha wasn't lucky as her pictures were sent to OTHER family members in another city, and worst our families in other countries.. just dreadful and horrible.

It was a time where Neisha blamed me for doing all of this; and it was a horrible time where I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything out of embarrassment of the family. I don't think you'll understand how embarrassed I could feel whenever family members, uncles and aunts, started to look at us differently, and looked down upon us whenever Neisha and I were together.

So much for a short story... I know. But, I could say Neisha ended up doing some investigating and found out that it was our other cousins who did this; mainly their mom (our blood aunt). It didn't make sense as to why. In fact, I still don't know why they would ever do that to family - especially us... our families were nothing but nice and caring to them... I just still don't get it.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord. - Leviticus 19:18
I can't lie... I was really angry at them - I wanted absolutely nothing to do with them. I didn't want to be near them nor talk to them and I just didn't want anything to do with them. When Neisha and I finally patched things through and found out who've done this us, our first instinct was to get our revenge... send photos of them. But, we couldn't... we are not those kind of people. Instead.. we decided to just be civil with them and just try and be friends with them.. In all honestly, I still haven't forgotten what they've done.

The verse above says it all beautifully - Love and treat others the way you would treat yourself. It is obviously easier said and done; which is exactly why I shared my personal story with you all. It wasn't easy for "forgive" my cousins for they've done to me. It took me years to learn to love them again - although not the same extent as I used to; but I definitely took the words of God and started to love them again.

So, how is this done? Loving someone as you love yourself? It is spoken clearly through the other verses:

  1. Loving others with our possessions (Leviticus 19:9-10): Not only do we need to learn to plan our lives for ourselves, we need to learn to share with others. Need an example? We all work hard for money, I get it. We save our money and we are saving it for something big. Giving at least a dollar to a homeless person will go a long way in their life than you think. 
  2. Loving others with our words (Leviticus 19:11-12): The things we say to each other either hurt or encourage one another. Would you rather receive hurtful words from strangers and people you love? Or words of encouragement. Think about it. 
  3. Loving others by our actions (Leviticus 19:13-14): The way we treat others speaks volumes about who we are and our values. We must bring people down but lift them up. Think about yourself again in this situations.. how would you like to be treated whenever you are sad and down?
  4. Loving others in our judgements (Leviticus 19:15-16): Why is it okay for one person to judge others differently from others? Who gave them that authority? Who gave you that authority to judge and continue to judge others for what they think, believe and do... It's never fun when we are judged for liking a band (like One Direction), so why do the same to others? 
  5. Loving others in our attitude (Leviticus 19:17-18): Doesn't matter what people have done to us. It is out of control of what "should happen" to them. Why not just take the high road and treat others the way you want to be treated? 
Moreover, if you read the readings for today's post, you would have noticed that each phrase ended with the phrase, "I am the Lord". Why does God remind us of who He is at the end of each verse? Our actions, thoughts and words are a reflection of Him. What we say or do is a mere reflection of who and where we come from. It is also a reminder that the way we treat other, is the way we are treating Him... We hurt our brothers and sisters, we are hurting God. 

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