October 15, 2021

Golden Rule.

You shall not defraud your neighbor.
Leviticus 19:13
When the Heidelberg Catechism asks what is forbidden in the eighth commandment (Thou shalt not steal), it gives this answer: That I do whatever I can for my neighbor’s good, that I treat others as I would like them to treat me, and that I work faithfully so that I may share with those in need.

Defrauding our neighbor, then, is not just taking something from them, but also denying them something that God intends for them to have. If the planet God meant for us to inhabit was created with enough clean air and water for all, if the food we produce is enough to feed everyone on earth, if our Lord healed both the rich and the poor without regard to their ability to pay, then how can we not say that withholding those gifts is, in fact, a way of defrauding some of God's children?

This is clearly how Christ intended us to understand God's commandments when he taught us the Golden Rule: Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31). All those thou-shalt-nots also have a positive side. It's not just what's forbidden, but also advice on how to live full lives. Refraining from hurting others is a start. But wholeness will only be found when we begin to actively live in the beloved community Christ founded with his teachings.
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Help me, O God, be the kind of friend to others that I want them to be to me.
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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