Proverbs 19:17 (NIV)
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.
God takes our relationships with one another very personally. As our Creator, Sustainer, and Savior, God is constantly present with us and intimately concerned with every activity and relationship we have.
When we show kindness and compassion toward one another, Scripture says we are doing the very same toward God. In other words, to ease the suffering of a brother or sister is the same as caring for God. According to Scripture, it is impossible to exclude God from the effects of our actions toward others. What’s more, to love and care for others results in blessings for ourselves, evidence that God is actively participating in the relationship with us.
By the same token, to withhold kindness and compassion from those who need our mercy is the same as refusing to care for God. Whether or not we acknowledge God’s presence in our relationships, the divine Third Party is nevertheless rejected and offended when we reject and offend a brother or sister. Jesus tells his disciples that even as the smallest kindness done for others is a kindness done for him, the smallest slight against those in need is likewise a slight against our Lord.
This unseen divine participation in our relationships is the reason why we must seek God’s forgiveness when we commit a sin against another person. God has established the law of love to rule his kingdom on earth. Breaking with that law by refusing mercy to another means breaking away from God’s authority and rejecting God’s help in our lives. On the other hand, caring for others through kindness and mercy strengthens our relationship with God and promotes the restorative influence of God’s kingdom in our midst.
FATHER, I pray there would be no area of my life in which you are not welcome. Forgive me for the times I have slighted you by ignoring or disrespecting others. Help me to remember that your constant companionship follows me into my relationships and that you take personally my kind and unkind acts toward others who bear your image, even as I do.
Matthew 25:40; 2 Corinthians 9:6
How can awareness of God’s presence in your relationships affect the way you treat others?