15 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. 16 ‘You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:15-16

The boundaries of fairness and respect in our relationships are not to be determined by the external circumstances of poverty, wealth, or appearance. Instead, all people are to be treated with an equality that is based on our recognition of them as our neighbors.  We are not only to see that all are treated fairly in whatever dealings we may have with them, be it the PTA, Little League, the gas station, or simply the service counter at our local store.  And we are to practice fairness in our dealings with each other even when we are apart; we are not to slander our neighbor.  To slander someone simply means to speak of them in their absence in a way that is false, incomplete, or simply damages their reputation.  It stands to reason if someone isn’t present to defend themselves concerning what is being said about them, they aren’t really being treated fairly, are they?  In short, we are not to take any action, or utter any word, that detracts or diminishes the life of our neighbor.  Honestly, when it comes to dealing with living beings, we are simply not to act or speak against the life itself of that person.  “Who is my neighbor?” is a question once asked of the Lord Jesus by a man who wanted to draw some boundaries between the people he bore an obligation to and those he didn’t.  The Lord’s answer forever erased the lines people draw between those considered worthy of protection and those considered unworthy (Luke 10:25-37).  But let me put a different spin on the questions.  Ask yourself, “Who isn’t my neighbor…and why aren’t they?  Your answer will reveal your boundaries.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Ken