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What the Bible says about Outgoing Concern
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 5:21

Covet means "to desire" or "to take delight in beyond God's acceptable bounds." It indicates "to long after a property that belongs to another in order to enjoy it." It is covetousness to allow oneself to indulge in thoughts that lead to actions named in the other nine commandments. They are grasping thoughts that lead to grasping deeds.

Coveting normally arises from two sources. It often begins with a perception of beauty in a thing desirable to possess. It also arises from a persistent inclination for something more abstract like a desire for power. The first is generally stimulated from without, the second generally from within. Both are equally bad.

One commentator stated that he believed all public crime would cease if just this one law were kept. Another said that every sin against one's neighbor, whether of word or deed, springs from the breaking of this commandment. James 1:14-15 seems to agree: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."

In the Exodus 20:17 version of the commandment, the word "house" implies household. Subsequently, six other items are listed so that we clearly understand that "household" is meant. In Deuteronomy 5, "wife" is moved to first position as the very crown of one's possessions, and "field" is inserted because earlier, when God gave the Exodus version, fields were of no concern to pilgrims who possessed no land. Thus, between the two wordings God provides a seven-fold safeguard of other people's interests, revealing the underlying concept of outgoing concern.

In this commandment, we step from the outer world of word and deed into the secret place where all good and evil begins: the heart. The inner life actually determines a person's destiny, as the desires of a person's life are held and nurtured there.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment

Matthew 18:33

In the New Testament, the Greek word eleeo occurs only once (Matthew 18:33, "pity"), and it means "to be kind," "tender." In contrast, self-pity is the opposite—not tenderness to oneself but an abusiveness that causes great stress and harm. It shows faithlessness by breaking the first commandment in placing oneself higher in importance than the Creator God. This obsession with self interferes with God's development of righteous character in us.

In essence, self-pity is excessive love of oneself. Thus, a simple cure for self-pity is caring for someone else's welfare more than self—in a word, selflessness. Outgoing concern, love toward others is outlined by the Ten Commandments, for they show love toward God and love toward neighbor. The saints who overcome Satan and the world are known by the trait that "they did not love their lives to the death." They are willing to lay down their lives for their friends (John 15:13).

Martin G. Collins
Overcoming (Part 10): Self-Pity

Luke 6:27-38

Jesus emphasizes giving, not just to those who love us, but also those who hate us, curse us, despise us, and persecute us.

Jesus is letting us know that godly giving contains an element that separates it from the common sorts of charity. We know this as agape love—a kind of love that can be done without emotion, if need be. It is a kind of love that does for another what is truly best for that person rather than what will make that person happy. It is a love that looks beyond present circumstances toward the ultimate realization of the act, primarily toward the effect of our own behavior.

It is not just a love that, out of concern, gives to somebody to plug a gap and that only. It is a type of love done with a great deal of thought, in which a person thinks through the effects and consequences of his actions to their ultimate end. Therefore, the result is that he does good for the other person whether that person likes it or not.

Of course, God would want us to do these acts of agape love with a great deal of feeling out of true concern. So, it should not be a cold love. But, if necessary, it can be.

It is a love with which one must be very careful. If we read between the lines here in Luke 6, we can see that Jesus is aiming for the Kingdom of God, not for somebody's temporary help. Why would one do good to those that hate him or to someone who curses him or persecutes him unless there was an ultimate, good end for that other person?

A person who performs an act of agape love makes a witness so that in the end it will come to the other's mind in the resurrection—it might take that long—and help to convert him. It will make a stunning impact on that person's mind that this was a Christian practicing love and true good works.

Jesus mentions that in godly giving there is greater merit when there is no hope of repayment or even of gratitude because it is done selflessly. There is nothing coming back to pay or repay one for his sacrifice or gift. He is quick to say, "Look, if you do it this way, there are good returns! There are rewards!" But going into it, a Christian must not have those things in mind.

Godly living is done without respect of persons. It is done in mercy, love, and kindness, as He says in the Golden Rule, just as we would like to be treated. It is done without condemnation and thus done out of a pure heart that truly desires the other's well-being.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
"If I Have Not Charity"

Romans 12:18-21

Self-restraint and obedience to God's law is realized in outgoing concern for others that exceeds and rules over our own self-interest. Even lawful acts may on occasion cause other brethren to stumble or be made weak. Self-control provides the ability to resist what may cause pain to others. Thus, we exercise self-control for others, as well as for ourselves.

Martin G. Collins
Self-Control

2 Thessalonians 1:3

Through the apostle Paul's example, we see that it is our duty to be thankful for each other on a constant basis. It is difficult to be upset with someone while at the same time thanking God that he is our brother in Christ.

Spurred by outgoing concern for others, we can be thankful for the faith of Christ exhibited in them, their conversion, the true love they show through obedience to His Word, the earnest care or zeal exhibited by them for the brethren and God's work. The list is endless (II Corinthians 9:11).

Martin G. Collins
Thankfulness


 




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