More Than Thou Shall Nots

Too often we reduce the moral imperatives of our faith into “thou shall NOT” statements. We shall not steal, kill, nor covet. And that list could go on and on. It is easy to think about what we are not supposed to do, but if we stop there we are left with a very shallow understanding. If we’re only called to not do certain things, then we are left with little idea of what we’re actually supposed to do. But the Christian life is not summed up by sitting on our hands. We are called to act.

We could look throughout Luke to see what Jesus calls us to in obedience to him. This obedience is a response of love, it is how we show love to him. But instead of quoting from Luke, read this example from Leviticus:

“‘If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.” (Leviticus 5:1 NIV)

The law was not concerned only with not bearing false witness, but in the people standing up to testify. It may seem mundane to you, and maybe it is because I watch too many crime shows, but this sounds bold to me. We don’t always want to speak up and stand out. Sometimes it is for our personal benefit to keep our mouths closed. But we have a responsibility to speak truth. Again, we can’t be content to understand the expectation of us to cease just at not bearing false witness. It goes beyond. Just as the golden rule isn’t: Do not do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. Rather we have the difficult, challenging call to do for others as we want done to us.

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