My first Shavu’ot conference was in 2015. Now, just two years later, the conference has become something I look forward to all year long.
Each year I learn about HaShem with like-minded teens, make new friends who believe what I do, and spend time in community. This year the young adults, ages 12-21, studied the first six chapters of the Didache. The Didache, which means ‘teaching,’ contains instructions for living as a follower of Yeshua.
The first chapter of the Didache describes two ways, a Way of Life and a Way of Death. It says, “Now the Way of Life is this: First, you shall love God who made you; second, you shall love your fellow as yourself. Whatever you do not want to happen to you, do not do to one another.” Love God and love others. Pretty simple, right? The chapter goes on to explain what loving others means. “Speak well of those who speak ill of you, and pray for your enemies… love those who hate you… if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” The Didache isn’t talking just about loving those who love you. It’s talking about loving everyone, even those who hurt you. It’s human nature to want everything to be fair, to hurt the people who hurt you, but that is not the Way of Life. Choosing the Way of Life means putting fairness aside and going above and beyond to love the people around you.
What does this look like in a modern perspective? The world is filled with people who gossip, steal, and lie. We, as believers, have a responsibility to love these people as our Father loves us—unconditionally. That does not mean loving their evil deeds, but loving them despite what they do. When someone insults us, we shouldn’t insult them back. When someone asks for help, we should giving willingly and not demand anything in return. Instead of seeking revenge, we should pray for those who hurt us and trust God to be the true judge. Always be ready to help others.
Chapter 3 of the Didache says, “Be humble, because the humble will inherit the earth. Be patient, merciful, innocent, quiet, and good-natured, always trembling at the words that you have heard… Associate with the righteous and lowly… Accept the things that happen to you as being for the good, knowing that nothing happens apart from God.” The Way of Life is to love God and to love others. There’s a difference between simple and easy. It is a simple thing to love others despite their mistakes, but it is not an easy one. However, if we adopt these traits listed in chapter 3, we’ll be one step closer to loving our enemies, and one step closer to the Way of Life.