Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Zechariah 7:8-11 -- On Not Imagining Evil

"And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying,
Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear."
Zechariah 7:8-11

 This is a good reminder.  Sometimes I think we are just like toddlers fighting over toys.  Our Father asks us to play nice, and to share, and we just refuse to.  Perhaps we aren't mature enough, or perhaps we don't have any empathy... the ability to understand what other people might feel.  God warns us against even imagining evil, which is good, since imagining it is what starts the whole cycle.  Of course, of society is full of imaginary revenge and murder scenarios on the television, so this seems to be one of those commandments that we mostly ignore.  We, like the original listeners, refuse to hearken and stop our ears.  Later in the chapter, God warns us again that what we do will come back to us.  If we refuse to help others or hear their cries, then God will do the same to us.  I don't think that is a cruel threat, but more of an acknowledgment of natural consequences.  As we learn to ignore others and dismiss their thoughts and feelings, we are changing ourselves into the kind of people that God won't be able to help either... because his help *requires* us to learn to be sensitive to the needs of others as part of the lessons we learn that lead to salvation.  If we harden ourselves to others, we harden our own hearts against the changes necessary for salvation.
Today, let's show mercy and compassion, and try not to imagine any evil. :)

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