I became reacquainted with a Biblical concept in my reading this evening – a concept worth repeating – especially to those who have given up on exploring God because of violence evidenced the Bible. Faith invites us to see all those passages highlighting the harm we humans cause ourselves and others, be it in the name of God or of our tribe, to make readers conscious of our own wrongdoings, especially in the ways we repeat the sins of our ancestors. The Bible invites us to read back into any section we encounter two central moments: The Ten Commandments (i.e., “oh, yes, I see the resulting tragedy when this or that Commandment is broken!”), and Christ’s Passion (i.e., “oh, yes, here’s another wound inflicted against God and humanity). Why would a Holy Book only give us “the good parts,” showing merely “exemplary behavior,” without honestly admitting human failures? Scripture offers “Good News” because it is honest, and because its goal is that we see all parts destined to contribute to a whole, holy, and majestic conclusion. What is this conclusion? A patient and forgiving God is ever-present to us, assisting us that we learn from the past and create a better future.
For more insight that supports “Love of God and Neighbor” as part of the Bible’s Ultimate Message, you may enjoy this article from Biblical Archeological Society. Reading the first half is more-than-enough as the second half gets very technical. If you don’t have time, know the answer is: NEIGHBOR MEANS EVERYONE! This is true in both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible.