Restoration Series: Love Does No Harm | March 10, 2023
Romans 13:8-10 NIV
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would leave my job and race home in hopes of beating the line of traffic gathering at the entrance of the canyon where I lived. If I left a minute too late, I was doomed, and as I pulled into the long line of cars, I had to drive diligently so not to let one single car squeeze into our mile-long turn lane, because if we all did that, no one was getting home that night. How will cutters ever learn if not by my diligence to keep them from cutting?
Except they always found a way. And I always found a way to let them know how I felt about that.
I don’t know about you, but many days, when my patience is tested or I feel mistreated, my first reaction is not “do no harm.” In fact, I’d like to do a lot of harm. Because I’m human. And I live in this thing called flesh. You too?
Thankfully, God doesn’t expect us to do this alone, by our own power, in our flesh. Rather, He gives the Holy Spirit who empowers us to walk His way and not our own.
Romans 8:1-4 NIV
8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Jesus says it this way:
Matthew 7:12 NIV
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The 613 Laws of Judaism written in the Old Testament were to help people do no harm to one another. That was a tall order, and it just couldn’t be done. Not perfectly.
The purpose of the Law was good, to teach people how to treat one another and to do no harm. But like Romans 8 says, we needed Jesus to come and fulfill the law for us.
Now, when we walk in the Spirit and stay in step with Him, He will help us “do no harm” to our neighbor. To love our neighbor as ourselves.
Do you have a daily irritating situation (or 2 or 10?) that can trigger the flesh to respond instead of allowing the Spirit to lead? Confess and name your flesh response and ask the Lord to give you a Spirit response. Commit to walking in the Spirit by abiding in the Spirit.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about what it means to keep in step with the Spirit.
If you’d like to learn more about or connect with the Daily Readings writer, Jodi Harris, click here.