The Way of Life and the Way of Death…

There are two Ways: the Way of Life and the Way of Death and the difference between these two Ways is great.

The Way of Life is this: first, you shall love the Lord God, your Creator; and second, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Do not do anything to your neighbor that you would not want done to yourself.

These words mean this: speak well of those who slander you, pray for your enemies and fast on behalf of those who work against you. For where is the merit in loving only those who love you? Even non-Christians do that! If you love those who hate you, you will have no enemies. Guard against the lust of the flesh. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other cheek as well and you will exemplify your faith. If someone compels you to go one mile, go another one as well. If someone takes your coat, give up your shirt as well. If someone tries to rob you, do not resist, even if you think you might prevail. Give help to anyone who asks of you, without looking for repayment, for it is the Father’s pleasure that we should share His gracious bounty with everyone. We are blessed when we give freely in accordance with God’s command.

The second commandment of the Lord’s Teaching is this: do not commit murder; do not commit adultery. Do not practice sexual immorality. Do not steal. Do not practice witchcraft. Do not kill an unborn child by abortion. Do not commit infanticide. Do not be greedy and envy your neighbor’s possessions. Do not commit perjury or give false testimony. Do not slander anyone or be malicious towards anyone. Do not equivocate in thought or speech. Do not be deceitful. What you say should not be false of empty but exemplified in your actions. Do not take advantage of other people or swindle them. You must resist any temptation to hypocrisy, arrogance and spitefulness. Do not hate anyone. Do not be quick-tempered. Do not be fanatical or quarrelsome. Beware of lust, for lust breeds adultery. Do not always be looking for omens or follow fortunetellers¬†for this leads to idolatry. Have nothing to do with witchcraft, astrology or magic. Do not lie. Do not be a grumbler. Do not be over-anxious to be rich or admired, for this leads to conceit. Learn to be meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth. Practice humility and be patient, merciful, quiet and honorable, always paying attention to the things of God. Do not associate with those who are eminent in their own eyes but choose as your companions those who are humble and just. Do not create division, but bring peace among those who are divided. Make all your judgments with justice and show no partiality towards anyone. Do not turn away from those in need, but be willing to share whatever you have. Do not look upon your possessions as your own. Do not be hesitant or complain when you give. Make an offering as a ransom for your sins. Remember who the eternal Paymaster is who will give you your reward in due time. Do not fail to cherish your sons and daughters and teach them to love and revere God even while they are young. See that you do not neglect the commandments of the Lord, but keep them just as you received them, without any additions or subtractions of your own. In church, confess your sins and do not come to your prayers with a bad conscience. That is the Way of Life.

The Way of Death is this: it is completely evil and filled with destruction and damnation. Along the Way of Death is found murder, adultery, theft, sexual immorality of all kinds, idolatry, perjury, hypocrisy, duplicity, deceit, pretentiousness, arrogance, malice, greed, treachery, jealousy, obscene speech and a lack of love for God. The Way of Death is tread by those who oppose truth, love lies, show no mercy to the poor and do not know the rewards of righteousness. Gentleness and patience are beyond their conception; they care for nothing good or useful and love their empty life. They do not know God their creator. They are utterly and altogether sunk in iniquity.

Be watchful over your life! Watch out that you are not led astray from the Way of Life by those who do not know God. If you are able to carry the Lord’s yoke, your life will be full and complete.

 

– taken from an ancient Christian document called The Didache or The Teaching of the Apostles, written anonymously circa 125-150AD.

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