Tag Archives: the Golden Rule

Deuteronomy 21-24; God Makes Sense

As Moses teaches God’s Law to the young Jews ready to take the Promised Land, I am struck by the sense and sensibility of it all. (I just watched that movie on TCM this week)

Oh sure, we could dissect the verses concerning divorce, or agriculture, or fashion, parenting, or even using the latrine. But don’t all these chapters fall under the Greatest Commandment Jesus talked about in Matthew 22? Love God, love others? Don’t these verses in Deuteronomy fit under the umbrella of the Golden Rule?

I think our world is in the state it is in because we aren’t living with the good sense God gave us. Love Him. Worship Him only. Be kind. Have integrity. Be honest. Have compassion. Eliminate sin. Don’t think of yourself more highly than you think of others. It just makes sense.

God makes sense.

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Leviticus 5-7; Rubbing Shoulders

I volunteer with our elementary school’s Good News Club. What a blessing! One thing we teach the kids is that sin is “anything we think, do, or say that doesn’t please God.” Our leader told the kids yesterday that if they don’t love other people, they aren’t loving God.

That got their attention.

I’m sure all of us would agree sin is an affront to God, and it effects Him deeply every time we sin. We know His heart is broken when we sin. We know He is angry when we disobey. And we know that our sin effects our relationship with Him.

We live in a “me first” society. If it feels good, do it. You can’t make anyone happy until you are happy yourself. Look out for #1. I am worthy. I am powerful, I am lovable. I am… I am… I am…

Reading these chapters today reminded me that my sin effects God. But it effects others, too. Even sins I might commit unintentionally can hurt my loved ones, neighbors, coworkers, even strangers. And sometimes I need to make restitution, apologize, or receive someone’s anger over what I have done.

We don’t live in a vacuum. We rub shoulders with people every day. Children can get hurt when parents cheat and/or divorce. Parents get hurt when children go astray. Friends get hurt by gossip. We all end up paying for prisons, hospitals, war.

You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness. But you are responsible for how you live, how you treat people, how you obey God. You are responsible for not causing anyone’s unhappiness by your sin.

Love one another. That’s how people know we are Jesus’ disciples. Do good to those who harm you. Pray for your enemies. Think of others before yourself. And treat them the way you like to be treated.

Please don’t fall for the lie that it’s your life and you can live it like you want. It is your life. I pray you’ll live it the way God wants.

Exodus 21-23; Play Nice

Wouldn’t life be amazing if everybody lived according to the principles God laid down for His children here in these chapters? Murder demands a death sentence, you pay your debts, you are honest, if you are guilty of careless behavior you fess up and pay up, and you don’t mistreat people. It’s the Golden Rule broken down into specific behaviors.

We live in a day where so many people trample over others in order to get ahead. One person’s rights trumps another’s rights, sometimes violently. We live in a society with a sue your neighbor mentality, and we are witnessing the consequences for such selfish and self-centered behavior.

But there are many who aren’t caught up in “self.” I see examples of that almost every day. And I hope you do, too.

I was talking to some friends of mine the other day, and they said they’d received a check from their granddaughter who was almost done paying for her car. They had loaned her the money and she’d been faithful to pay it back. Oh, that’s not unusual, they said. They’ve loaned money to most of their kids and many of their grandkids at one time or another. They never charge interest, and they’ve never been stuck.

In fact, the husband said they let the kids determine how much they can pay a month, AND he lets them keep track of the debt themselves. When the kids tell their parents they are paid in full, the parents trust them that they have indeed met their obligation. Debt paid.

Some of you might say that loaning money without charging interest is not good financially. That money would be gaining interest if it sat in the bank. So, while they are loaning money to their children, they are really losing money.

So?

These two are not in any way wealthy. She is a retired nurse, he a retired county worker. But when I read Exodus 22:25 I thought of them. They are living what God instructed the early Jews to do with their own families.

I know others who are financially generous. My sisters and their husbands are. I know many people who are generous with their time, their talents and abilities. I know honest and thoughtful people who live the Golden Rule every day. And life is better because they do.

Now let’s be clear. None of these good people are earning brownie points with God in order to earn heaven. We saw that in the chapters we read in my former post. But God would love for us to enjoy this life while we’re here. He’d like us to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, generous, thoughtful. He’d like us to treat one another in a way that we’d like to be treated ourselves.

We’re stuck here on this planet until God takes us home. So while we’re here, let’s play nice.