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Second Greatest Commandment by William…

Second Greatest Commandment

by William Fletcher

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t is a Sunday School book, pg 14, designed to be used to teach adults how to be sensitive to and caring for their neighbors, thus illustrating the "bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the Law of Christ" Gal 6:2, quoted at the end of the preface. It is not a difficult read but is meant to encourage and patiently teach adults without using unusually theological terms or trying to motivate by making people feel guilty. But rather it's motivation is low keyed, explain to people what is consistent with their understanding of the Bible and the Christian life and lead them from there.

Part 1: Caring because God cared.
Chapter 1: Does anyone really care?
"not just advice, but genuine caring that cost them time effort and money." pg 19
"If love is real, it will be expressed. If it is God's love (agape) it will be expressed sacrifically." pg 20
"People knew he (Jesus) cared, because his caring touched their lives and made a difference." pg 21
we are called to reflect and show this love to those around us.

Chapter 2: Starting with Love
"that we often begin to care only because we feel obligated is a valid one. He is also correct in noting that once we begin to express such care, love often takes over, motivating us, strengthening us, and enabling us to give of ourselves even when we are weary in well-doing." pg 29
"When the vertical relationship is right, our relationships on the horizontal plane are apt to be right. When our experience of God's love is daily, soulinspiring and life-changing, then our capacity to love others will be growing." pg 31

Chapter 3: compassion for the whole man
"The emotion which we should naturally expect to find most frequently attributed to Jesus whose whole life was a mission of mercy, .., is no doubt compassion. ...
The divine mercy has been defined as that essential perfection in God 'whereby He pities and relieves the miseries of His creatures'" quoting BB.Warfield on pg 39
"Modern Christians too often attempt to 'win souls' while ignoring the obvious physical needs of those they approach. Jesus never spearated the two." pg 40

Chapter 4: The Badge of Disciplineship
"Love and the unity it attests to- is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father." quoting Francis Schaeffer on pg 47

Part 2: Transforming the Local Body
Chapter 5: Finding and Healing Hurts
"The church is primarily and fundamentally a body designed to express through each individual member the life of an indwelling Lord and is equipped by the Holy Spirit with gifts designed to express that life." quoted Raymond Stedman on pg 60
"because the Holy Spirit is loving thorugh us. As human beings we are made to respond to love: when we are born of the Spirit, this sharing becomes a possiblity." pg 61

Chapter 6: Becoming a Family
"Since we are part of God's family, the warmth and mutual concern of healthy family life should be a part of church life." pg 68

Chapter 7: Learning How to Care
"Christians must learn to communicate with each other in ways that express the love of Christ." pg 74
"Caring is one sufferer telling another sufferer where to find comfort." pg 75
Third principle is listening. pg 79
Fourth principle is helping, the voluntary giving of ourselves. pg 79
Fifth principle is encouragement. pg 80
"Encouragement...is often a spontaneous word from the overflow of a loving heart, springing up naturally as we share our lives with others." pg 81
"the church empties more slowly now--which is an indicator of good health." pg 81

Chapter 8: Adopting a spirit of Gentleness
"Effective communication can take place only when the message or concern in our heart can take place only when the message or concern in our heart is effectively transmitted to the other person." pg 87
bathe the experience in prayer...Go slowly...find out the real needs...keep confidences...don't preach...don't judge...no advice-unless it's specifically asked for...be sympathetic!...be encouraging.

Part 2: Caring where it counts
Chapter 9: Caring for the elderly
"Loneliness is a major factor in the elderly's feelings of neglect." pg 96
"the ultimate betrayal--the feeling that they can not trust their own bodies." pg 101

Chapter 10: Caring for the lonely
meaningless depersonalization
"loneliness is not only pushing our culture to the breaking point, it is pushing our physical health to the breaking point" quoting a psychologist on pg 105
"Even Jesus experienced loneliness" pg 107
"First, they discovered that human resources are not enough to cope with loneliness. Second, they all felt the need for the support of other believers. Third, they found their principal source of strength, and the means of overcoming, in their fellowship with God and in submission to God's sovereign ruling-and overruling- in their lives." pg 108 in talking about Biblical examples like Paul, Elijah, and David
"You can measure your likeness to Christ by your sensitivity to the loneliness of others." quoting an anonymous author on pg 112

Chapter 11: Caring for the Sick
"Peter views suffering as the normal experience of the believer." pg 117

Chapter 12: Caring for the Grieving
"Grief is a normal human response to loss. Despite what our culture may tell us, it is important for us to grieve." pg 124
steps in grief: denial, anger, bargaining, despair, acceptance.

Chapter 13: A life of Love
"the process of getting people's attention so that we can berbally declare the message of deliverance which we call the gospel." pg 134
"without genuine love, our spiritual parenting will be mechanical, legalistic, and probably ineffective." pg 135
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times but always with the same person!" pg 136
"Ideally, caring begins at home-in a Christian home. It is modeled and then caught by the next generation as a natural part of life, not something that is forced or demanded." pg 138

John 13:35
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

I found it a worthwhile read, if a little basic, but we all need reminders of the simple things that we seem to forget and neglect while reaching for more serious themes.For it's purpose, an Adult Sunday School class on the introduction to the ministries of mercy in the Church, as well as a quick reacquaintance with the basics, it is suitable. The problem will be to get enough copies of such an now older book. It is not about the details of running such a ministry as much as the right individual motivations. It seems to approach the issues in a mature and Christian way, making good points and speaking truthfulness in love. ( )
  rmwilliamsjr | May 31, 2007 |
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