Turn Your Heart toward God
Kathy Robinson, World Church Health and Wholeness Team, team leader
If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. -Deuteronomy 30:16
From the time I was a little girl, I remember my parents sharing that one of the most important things to remember is to love others, get along with every person, think about how God wants me to act toward the other person-whether they are nice or not. Be nice…be kind…try to find good in all people.
An old saying is to “kill with kindness” someone who isn’t being nice to you. This is a rather terrible, contradictory phrase for trying to promote peace! But the point is not to respond with anger or rudeness to the things others do that hurt you; actively be nice to them so they might be positively affected-and they may start being nice back to you. This is hard to do. But it often does work, and as my mother explained: when you act lovingly toward them, you are turning your heart toward God.
In Deuteronomy, Moses delivers this same message to the Israelites: if you choose to turn your heart toward God, you will be blessed. If you choose your covenant with God, you will receive life; if you reject the covenant, you will perish.
This is also part of what Jesus taught His followers in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you [even] when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you… Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” He also said, “You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:11, 12, 14).
Today, when others are acting against us or hurting our feelings and making us mad or sad, we often talk about forgiveness and reconciliation. The message is still the same as what my parents taught me: be nice, be kind, love one another…even your enemies. WE are the followers of Jesus, so WE have the responsibility to walk with God, to turn our hearts toward God, and offer love and friendship to all.
I surrender into your love, O God.
What might it look like to surrender a little to God each day? A simple prayer of surrender can help us become aware of God’s consistent invitations to deeper relationship and awareness. Imagine when you encounter a challenging person or situation silently uttering this prayer, “I surrender into your love, O God.” The same prayer can be meaningful in moments of joy and gratitude as a way of returning to the awareness of oneness with God. It’s ok if we don’t surrender everything all at once all the time. The prayer of surrender is a constant practice of returning little by little to the deepest love that is the ground of our being and desires wholeness and oneness for us and all creation.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.