Prayer: Please grant, almighty God, that your redeemed people would learn to love as you have commanded us by meditating on the perfect law and example of our Lord. Teach us, our Father, to first love you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We confess that we fall short of this command each day. It grieves us so that we cannot love you who are worthy without the nagging and buffeting of indwelling sin. We confess that we sometimes willingly ignore this command and serve ourselves, seeking our kingdom instead of yours. Teach us, Father, to love others as you have commanded. We know that your holy law – the law of perfect liberty – tells us that your followers will love because you are love. Forgive us for the many ways we violate the law of love. We hold grudges and refuse to forgive. We snipe at a distance slandering others made in your image. We gossip and ruin reputations. We fail to come alongside our brothers and sisters in loving confrontation with the goal of support and encouragement. We dismiss the directions of the Savior who tells us to go to our brothers and sisters alone to gently restore them and help them. Your Word tells us that these behaviors are evil in your sight. Please forgive us, Lord, for we all stumble in many ways, and we often struggle in this way. Please erect a muzzle over our mouths so that we might demonstrate the law of love to our neighbor and honor you, knowing that we will give an account for every idle word we say. These things we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scripture Meditation: Ex. 20:1-17; Mk. 12:28-34; Rom. 3:23; Matt. 6:33; Jas. 2:8-13; Eph. 4:31-32; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 18:15; Gal. 6:1; Matt. 12:36

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