- Rebuilding Ruins
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“Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?” – Nehemiah 5:9b
There is a danger living as if what you do has no eternal consequences. In Nehemiah’s time, the rich Jews were perpetrating a terrible injustice on the poor Jews. They were loaning money at terribly high interest rates, as well as seizing property and in some cases the children of those who could not repay. In addition to being against God’s law, such practices were a terrible witness to those outside the faith.
Such practices, Nehemiah points out, only give ammunition to their enemies. In our day, living in ways that are counter to God’s ways only confirms many of the stereotypes outsiders have of people of faith.
How we treat each other speaks volumes to the world. Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another. Then he added that people would know whether or not we were his disciples by the manner in which we love one another. (John 13:34-35)
There is a correlation between the effectiveness of our mission and how we treat each other. How can we love the world if we don’t love each other? Trying to do one without the other will only cause our efforts to grind to a halt.