Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
“Love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10b, ESV). This sounds so easy, but in reality it is deadly difficult. How do we love one another? Just a verse earlier, the apostle Paul told us how, by summarizing what we might call the ethical law. God has given commandments, cited here, about adultery, murder, theft, and covetousness. He then sums up those commands by telling us to love one another. Yet we don’t love one another by simply allowing everyone to do whatever seems like a good idea at the moment. We don’t love one another by encouraging people that if it feels good it’s all right. There’s a fundamental dignity to a society made of people who are created in God’s image. An important part of loving one another is guarding dignity for all those people.
This is, or at least should be, at the root of Christian striving for moral and ethical behavior. When we do whatever we can to protect the institution of marriage, we are helping to safeguard the dignity of those who are married, as well as those who are not married, as they may be tempted toward adultery. When we try to protect life from conception to natural death, we are helping protect people from being murdered, as well as to protect some from becoming murderers. There’s a natural human dignity which deserves protection, and certainly the unborn and some elderly or seriously ill people are not in a position to protect that dignity. When we insist that property rights are property rights, we are guarding against theft, whether by neighbors, strangers, or governments. When we try to bring hope and cheer to those who have little, or when we try to show contentment with what we have we are guarding against the harm done to ourselves and others by covetousness. All this can be seen as a way of loving our neighbors.
Christians are often mocked for attitudes which seem stodgy or prudish. Fine! Yet I encourage everyone to think about how those attitudes can be for the good of our neighbor. We love and serve our neighbors by showing the dignity which we are persuaded God has shown us, a sense of order which will be good for everyone who lives in this fallen world. A little love and respect goes a long way!
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