Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | December 1, 2007

Do No Harm

1st Sunday of Advent, Romans 13:8-10

Do not owe people anything, except always owe love to each other, because the person who loves others has obeyed all the law. 9 The law says, “You must not be guilty of adultery. You must not murder anyone. You must not steal. You must not want to take your neighbor’s things.” All these commands and all others are really only one rule: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 10 Love never hurts a neighbor, so loving is obeying all the law. NCV

Relationship problems are rampant in today’s society: parents pitting kids against one another, angry words and tears because a sibling takes a beloved toy, ex-spouses or lovers interfering with their ex’s new family, friends blowing up at each other over one of them taking liberties with the others’ property. Most problems of this sort stem from boundary issues-either failure to set boundaries or failure to follow them.

A lot of people are afraid of setting boundaries because they’re afraid of alienating those closest to them. Sadly, they are probably doing more damage by not speaking up and telling people what they will and won’t allow. When we don’t know what’s expected of us, how can we maintain relationships without constant fear of making others angry?

That’s why God has given us the commands emphasized in the above passage. They either tell us how to relate to God or how to relate to others. While we won’t be able to perfectly fulfill God’s commands, this gives us a compass that guides us in our dealings. Without them, how would we know if our actions were in accordance with God’s will?

Some teach that Christianity is a rigid legalistic list of do’s and don’ts that one must adhere to in order to be saved. Those who turn Jesus’ commands to love Him and to love our neighbors as ourselves into a scorecard have missed the point of salvation.

As we begin a new liturgical year, let’s resolve to remember that, on the last day when Christ comes again, we will be judged not by a scoreboard, but by the Cross.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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