When I reflect on the words, “be holy” as a call to be like God, because God is holy, part of me wants to run far away. I want to say that I can’t do this, that I can’t be holy like God because I’m NOT God – end of story! However, in the reading from Leviticus, we are told that part of being holy is doing justice to others. We are to treat others with respect and fairness, whether they are seeking wages, whether they are deaf or blind, or whether they are someone who is difficult to deal with. We are to love our neighbors, and the text doesn’t seem to give us the choice to pick and choose whom we will love. God’s measuring stick, even though I oftentimes don’t want to use it and don’t want to be measured by it, is a challenge for most of us.
Here’s an example what I mean about struggling with loving my neighbor and being holy. I sometimes have an easy time loving my children, as things seem to be going well, they are behaving in reasonable ways, and there are no crises. However, there are also times when my teenage children push boundaries, question what I consider to be basic beliefs, and behave in ways that frustrate me. It’s at these times, when I feel pushed as a parent, that I find out about my true character, my ability to do justice and love my teenage children. I can sometimes step back and take the long view, and invite my children to keep growing as they experience life’s ups and downs. There are other times when I react or overreact to something they’ve said or done. I find that when I reflect on my behavior that there’s often something I can learn about parenting and about God’s love. I can offer an apology when appropriate, if I was out of line. I can also ask for what I need from them, and be clear about my expectations. My wife, Teresa, is a real blessing as a partner, as she strives for consistency in teaching and consequences. I also have the opportunity to pray in thanksgiving for my wife as a partner in parenting, as well as for grace and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
There may be an opportunity for each of us in our day, to look at how we are doing justice today, to all our neighbors. We may also be able to ask “how am I sharing God’s love today?” This focus may help us to love God more deeply and follow God’s ways more closely. May we seek Christ today in all our encounters and love Christ as we find the Presence there.