READ: Leviticus 19:9-18
Laws of Love
This passage contains such practical and foundational advise that can very easily be applied in every day situation – advise that transcends time and culture! The cornerstone of this advice is the word ‘love’ as seen at the end of this verse selection (mentioned only twice in the whole of Leviticus…19:18, 34). Contemplate the subjects and themes of each verse duet.
The instruction is to provide for the needy. Don’t be greedy in your harvests and keep every scrap and morsel for your barns but purposely leave a selection of your harvest so that down and out have a place to come find food. Love those in need and show it by allowing provisions for them.
Deception towards others. Whether it comes in the forms of outright robbery and blatant lies, or whether it comes in the form of broken promises and finger-crossing handshakes. In purposely deceiving a fellow man there is no evidence of love just evidence of selfish ambition and self centeredness.
Taking advantage of others – especially people that are less fortunate. Intentionally causing damage or injury to a fellow human, whether they are aware of it or not, is essentially a form of hate. Certainly, there is no love involved in placing a shopping trolley in the path of an on-coming blind man; nor is there love in speaking evil of someone who hasn’t even got a chance to defend themselves. If there is no love then at minimum there is indifference or at worst outright and intentional hate.
Unfair judgments in life are a terrible lack of love. Maybe we don’t often pull punches in favor of the rich and famous or out of pity to the poor, but surely we are, every one of us, all too often guilty of spreading rumors about others. The simple act of spreading rumors, particularly negative rumors, and telling tales about others is an act of making, or at least agreeing with, a judgment of their actions, personality and or motives. Unless we have a full understanding of that other person, then it is highly likely that we are making an unfair judgment. Honestly, if we truly loved such people would we make unfair judgments on their lives. Unless you were 100% sure of a person’s guilt would you be willing to stand against their life?
It is all summed up in the opposite poles of love and hate. ‘You shall not hate your brother/sister…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ To love another as you would love yourself has got to be one of the highest callings on life (may I suggest it to be second only to loving God). None of the warnings given in the previous verses are actions of love, they evidence only a magnetic pull towards hate. Neither are the topics mentioned in this duet…vengance, grudges, ignorance (in the sense of turning your back on someone that has wronged you).
The simplicity of these instructions just go to show that love for one another is to be the foundation of life – especially a holy life. Reflect on the words of Paul and James that the law can be summed up in the command to love your neighbor as yourself (Gal 5:14; James 2:8).