Love your neighbor as yourself” (the Golden Rule) is the second great commandment. It’s easy to say, but what exactly does it mean? How our nation would be changed if we PRACTICED it!
This famous law was originally spoken by God in Leviticus 19:18. I did not know, however, that there are seven applications that lead up to that law:
1. GENEROSITY: “You shall not reap your field right up to the edge…” (v. 9)
- Loving your neighbor is intentionally sharing your resources with them. God told them to leave the corners unreaped. This was so that the poor would have some of the “overflow harvest.”
- Be generous. Tip WELL. Look for opportunities to share your “maximum wage” with anyone who makes a “minimum wage.” I especially look to bless anyone who does their menial job “above and beyond.”
2. TRUTHFULNESS: “You shall not steal. You shall not deal falsely. You shall not lie to one another” (v. 11)
Life and business must be done with honesty and integrity. God even told them to have a “just balance” and “just weight” (v. 35).
Be 100% honest about your products and services. Don’t seek to “short-change” somebody. Fill up your measure of exchange and even add a little additional value to it.
3. ENCOURAGEMENT: “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him” (v. 13)
“Oppression” is to “use your position or authority to crush a lower person.” Powerful people sometimes use their power to oppress.
“Don’t withhold the wages of a hired worker all night with you.” Put yourself in their position if you were an underling and treat them exactly the way you would like to be treated.
4. HONOR: “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind…” (v. 14)
When someone is born with a handicap or defect, don’t mock them and “play around” about them behind their back.
“Honor” looks past the PERSON and their weaknesses. It honors the POSITION they hold as made in the image of God. “Get out of that handicapped parking place!”
5. JUSTICE: “You shall do not injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great…” (v. 15)
The court system can be corrupted in two ways: favoring the poor (just because they are poor) or favoring the rich (because they have great wealth). Either one is wrong.
Be “impartial.” Be fair. Justice is blind. Don’t respect the person of the rich or poor. Treat them fairly, regardless of their “connections.”
6. LOYALTY: “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people” (v. 16, NLT)
When you spread rumors and gossip, you are giving those you are talking to the signal that you would do the same thing behind their back!
Be quiet. Be loyal, faithful, and devoted to those your friends. “Investigate before you participate.”
7. FORGIVENESS: “Do not hate your brother in your heart…or take vengeance or bear a grudge…” (v. 17-18)
Many leaders are motivated by revenge. They nurse a wound until it becomes bitterness. Then, their bitterness becomes a “vow.” Finally, a “vow” becomes a “curse.”
“When we forgive, we set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner we set free is us” (Lewis Smedes). Let it go. Set them free. Turn them over to God. Speak a blessing. “Love your neighbor.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself” sums up the entire Law and Prophets. If we all practiced the 7 parts to this fantastic law, our nation would never be the same again.