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Exodus 23:1-9, Justice for All

Saturday, June 16

Treat Enemies Fairly

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

treat enemies fairly

Some of God's laws may seem obvious or fairly easy to follow. Today's is not so easy. Today, God challenges the people to behave with justice - for our enemies. While this also seems obvious, it may not be as simple as we might think.

We become conditioned over time to treat our "enemies" differently than we would treat those we love. It's not that we're explicitly mean, but we don't give them the benefit of the doubt. We hear everything they say through embittered ears. We interpret all their behaviors through a smudged lens. When given the opportunity to help, hurt, or ignore them, many of us choose to ignore. (Maybe we even choose to hurt sometimes.) But God asks us to choose to help. That means going out of our way to make sure they are treated fairly, given every opportunity and assistance we can give. Yeah, I said it wasn't going to be easy.

Maybe if we start seeing them as people rather than enemies it might be easier. Who are the people who love them? Could we trust those people, that they see something we don't see? What might be our enemy's true intention if not the evil plot we imagine? Might they be intending good? Maybe reframing how we see them will help us treat them with the justice God demands. 

Narrative Lectionary Text: Exodus 23:1-9

You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness. You shall not follow a majority in wrongdoing; when you bear witness in a lawsuit, you shall not side with the majority so as to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to the poor in a lawsuit. When you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, you shall bring it back. When you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden and you would hold back from setting it free, you must help to set it free. You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in their lawsuits. Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and those in the right, for I will not acquit the guilty. You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.