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Exodus 20:12-16, Commandments to Honor Others

Sunday, June 10

Living in Community

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

 living in community

Commandments four through eight establish healthy relationships between people. At first glance, this may look like a long list of “don’ts.” It is, however, a long list of “dos.”

Do honor your parents. They gave you life and they will need you as they near the end of theirs. Nurturing our elderly is a privilege and a holy honor.

Do respect all life. God has given us life. We have no right to take it away. When we abide by this law, people can live in a world of relative safety. And though there are plenty of people who do not abide by this law, their failures are exceptions, not rules. Generally, we can be free to walk the earth without constant fear of losing our lives. And when we respect all life, we are changed by it.

Do respect your intimate relationships. There is a spiritual bond that is created between people when they enter a sexual relationship. Breaking that covenant breaks the spiritual bond. The wounds and scars from infidelity run deep. It is a wound that never quite fully heals. We can move on, learn to trust again, but we will forever be changed by that breach of trust. Only in faithful relationships can the spiritual bond be strengthened.

Do respect the property, intellectual property, and the earnings of other people. When we steal, not only do we break the bond of trust, but we also disrespect the time and energy people spent earning money and possessions. Our stuff is a representation of the gifts God has given us to perform a job in the world. Stealing our stuff is like stealing a part of our soul.

Do respect the reputation of others. Sometimes our reputation is all we have. Our integrity, honesty, reliability—these traits are hard earned, and nearly impossible to recover once destroyed. When we harm a person’s reputation, we damage their being.

God’s commandments for our treatment of others is critical to the formation and maintenance of a healthy, functioning, society. When we all do our part to respect each other, we are responsible for creating the world God intended for humanity.


Narrative Lectionary Text: Exodus 20:12-16

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.