“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days” Deuteronomy 30:19-20a
After Moses lays out the details of the Law to the nation of Israel, he makes this statement which I believe holds a great reminder for us. Our motivation in sharing the truth of Christ should be a desire that those around us would choose life. It is speaking the truth in love, as Paul calls us to in Ephesians 4:15. Love is what compels us; not a need to be right or to win an argument.
We can get so caught up in wanting others to see that we’re right. To argue a point and press it so that they know whatever view they hold is incorrect, and they really should see that we have things in perspective. But that isn’t love. And it isn’t what Christ did. He did speak truth. But what you see characterizing His ministry isn’t a string of debates. It’s love. Love for the hurting and broken. Love for the outcasts. Love for the sinners. To kind of grasp the meaning of that statement, remember that Jesus is God. He is the One who created the Law in the first place. He is righteous and holy, and every sin is committed in direct opposition to His character and in rebellion to His sovereign reign. It is a sin against Him. And the people Jesus met who were trapped in rebellion against Him were not punished or berated in His presence. They experienced love and grace as they had never known before.
As followers of Christ, this should be characteristic of our lives as well. When we choose to follow Christ—when we choose life, to love and obey and hold fast to the Lord our God—we are choosing to follow His example. So we study His Word. We study how He responded to situations and to those around Him. We see how He loved. And the more we experience His love in our own life, the more it pours out of us and covers those we encounter in our every day. Whether they are strangers on the street, co-workers we may or may not get along with, or family members we see all the time. The love that God pours into our heart is enough to overflow and affect everything.
1 Peter 4:8 tells us, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” So then, love should be the focus in our relationships. Earnest love, intentionally guarded within our heart, so that we are able to maintain it even in the face of wrongs committed against us. If we begin to focus more on a “multitude of sins,” the relationship will break down. It will become about us. We will want to be acknowledged as right more than simply desiring to have love rule in our home and our friendships.
For those of us who know Christ, may this be a reminder that this life isn’t about us. “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). We have chosen to die to ourselves, and in doing so we have discovered what abundant life truly is. It is Christ. That realization should be what drives us to share Him with others. We are to share the truth and love of Christ out of a desire that others will choose life, that they will love the Lord, obey Him and hold fast to Him, for He is their life. Not because we want to be seen as right; but because we want them to know life that is eternal, forgiveness that is complete, fullness of joy, abiding peace, and the love of God that never wavers.