The Place of the Golden Rule

Have you ever wondered where the Golden Rule is found in the Bible? Do you know? Guess!

How many guessed, Leviticus, right in the middle of Leviticus?

How can that be? Yes, it’s here, in the midst of all the rules about sacrifices in the ancient Temple and many of the processes by which the priests were to administer matters in sacred space.

Further, as some know, the Golden Rule appears in a portion called Kedoshim, which indicates to us it’s located in text that is centrally about holiness.

It certainly makes sense that a text that teaches about conduct in sacred space would involve a discussion of holiness.

But what is somewhat surprising as well as extraordinarily powerful is what the Bible wants us to know most about holiness.

Is it about some supernatural or mystical way of being? Is it mostly about some sort of reverence and awe toward the priests or other-wordly beings or even some sort of reverie toward God?

I think not.

Yes, God calls us to draw near in this space. God asks us to bring offerings to facilitate our drawing near the Divine. God asks us to be holy for our God is holy. But the purpose of doing so is not for some esoteric or mystical reason. God draws us near, mainly to challenge us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

We’re holy as God is holy when we care for the poor by leaving the gleanings of the field and the corners for them.

We’re holy when we do not steal from or deal falsely with others.

We’re holy when we pay the day laborer before night falls.

We’re holy when we’re righteous in judgment of others.

We’re holy when we defend the victims of crime.

We’re holy when we avoid bearing tales about others.

We’re holy when we refrain from bearing grudges.

Indeed, we’re holy when we love others as ourselves.

Unlike the gods of many ancient religions, our God is less interested in arbitrary expectations of us and our showing obeisance in special places to high priests. We’re called to God’s service, yes, but the holiness in doing so is principally manifested through serving and loving others.


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