Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy

Christianity is often viewed as a series of no-no’s, and this passage has plenty of them.   Don’t steal.   Don’t lie.   Don’t slander.   It seems pretty clear and concrete.   But notice that all these rules are “bookended” by holiness and love.   These two words describe everything God had in mind when he gave us these laws.

The call to holiness is based not only on what we avoid, but also — and sometimes even more importantly — on what we do.   That’s why the passage concludes with a reminder of what the Law is supposed to develop in us:   “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).   Isn’t this the same thing that Jesus tells us — that the greatest commandment is to love God and our neighbor?

How can this perspective affect the way you prepare for Easter?   Lent might seem like a time to give things up.    You’ve probably asked someone else the common question  “What are you giving up for Lent?”   And surely, at least one other person has asked you as well.   But don’t stop there.   As we have already mentioned in previous meditations, Lent is a wonderful season to fast from negative habits like gossip and overeating.   But it’s also the perfect time to take one or two positive steps that will help you grow in holiness.

So look again at your Lenten resolutions.   Choose one area of sin or temptation you are trying to overcome, and decide how you can also practice the opposite virtue.   If you tend to dwell on negative thoughts about a coworker, stop and think of one good quality this person has, and thank God for it.   If you are fighting laziness, choose one project around the house that has been languishing, and make a plan for how you will tackle it.   Instead of nursing a grudge against someone, add that person to your prayer list, and intercede for him or her every day.

Jesus wants you to become holy and loving.   But don’t think it all depends on you.   He has given you a share in his own holiness and love.   He can give you everything you need.

Word Among Us