The Sharia of Christ in the GOSPEL
G - Commandments of Christ related to our Duties towards Men (CONDUCT)
THE LAW OF CHRIST FOR HIS FOLLOWERS
PART TWO: Deeds and Intentions in the New Covenant or: What Should Disciples of Jesus Do?
B. Duties Towards Men
God is love, and his commandments regarding our relationship with the people around us are therefore nothing but holy love. In the Middle East, which is composed of tribes, this means that each individual must love and defend every member of his tribe unconditionally; and each individual of the tribe has the duty to bear the responsibility for the other members. Even if the latter erred, the tribe has to defend him, justify him, and pay the fine incumbent on him if he could not pay it.
Jesus overcame this lifeless tribal model. He refused the spirit of tribal jealousy and dislike, and emphasized in his parable of the merciful Samaritan, that the despised stranger was the best neighbor to him that fell among the thieves, while the religious leaders of his own nation did not care about the wounded man and passed by him indifferently. (Luke 10: 25- 37)
Jesus explained the love towards the neighbor in the golden rule: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) What do we expect from the others? We expect their interest, kindness, respect, help in troubles; and not disturbance, and stumbling, but assistance, exchange of experiences, and intercession if they were believers. This is required as a minimum of the merits, which befits us to do to them first.
The meanings of spiritual love extend so far as to include forgiveness, longsuffering, blessing for the hardhearted, and seeking the guidance of the Spirit in our talks with neighbors. If our neighbors do not know Jesus, we must depict the Savior to them as the light of the world, and pray that they may see him with the eyes of their hearts. If it is not possible to speak freely and publicly, then there is constructive literature, or spiritual recordings, which we may present on feasts and other occasions.
Jesus wants to bring his followers out of their isolation, and free them from self-centeredness, giving them an insight, which extends beyond their tribe. By his commandment of unlimited love, he produced elements of a new culture. We, as self-lovers, may still be far from the application of his practical love to our lives; therefore, he made himself the center of this new social culture. How wonderful that the more we become united with Jesus, the more we become united with each other. Jesus confessed this mystery in his intercessory prayer, as he said: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:21)
Jesus was a practical man. He did not pray this prayer for the world, but for His church. He knew that without God, man does not know the holy love, but is prompted by covetousness and diversion to the bondage of sin. Yet, he who follows Jesus becomes consecrated to service. He overcomes his selfishness everyday anew until he becomes focused on the high standards of Jesus: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)