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Protect – The Rule of Law: Government of Relationships (3)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011, 0:01
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The Rule of Law: Government of Relationships (3)

Loving our neighbors means that we look out for their well-being.

“When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.” Deuteronomy 22:8

These days it is not our practice to build railings around our rooftops, because it is not our practice, as it was in ancient Israel, to entertain our neighbors up on the roof. The principle embedded in this statute is that of loving our neighbors by considering their well-being and doing everything within our power to protect their health, property, and good name. We love our neighbors by recognizing that we are our brother’s keeper and by comporting ourselves accordingly.

We can only suggest a few of the many applications of this principle. We should keep our automobiles in good driving condition and take care that we observe the rules of the road. We will not set unattended fires—of leaves, say, or trimmed tree branches. If we see our neighbor in danger we will do what we can to interpose ourselves on his behalf. If we believe that laws are being proposed which will harm our neighbor’s well-being, we will oppose them. We will talk with our neighbors about the great issues of the day, particularly as we believe these may endanger the overall health and stability of our society. We will not sit by in silence as others spread lies or gossip about our neighbors.

Caring for our neighbor’s well-being also involves doing whatever we can to protect him from the wrath of God. We must not be reluctant to share the Gospel with our neighbors or to warn them of God’s displeasure against sin. We must be urgent about this, but we must also be respectful and not “pushy.” Loving our neighbor means we accept his demurral with respect to the Gospel without condemning him. It also means that we stand always at the ready to remind him of God’s merciful offer of forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ.

For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the life of faith, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Bookstore, then Church Issues.

In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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