If every human being had the capacity to do the right thing every minute of every day, humankind would have no need of laws.

But since all of us have the capacity for both hatred and love, we are compelled to make rules that provide our best judgment for how to live together in peace and justice. Laws alone cannot ensure our well-being, however. The stories of our very best human selves are the stories of our love for one another — the stories where laws and social norms are trumped by hearts that love and people who follow their hearts and act on that love.

Consider now how love can help us be our best selves.

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But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die — there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!” When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

Ruth 1:16-18

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Though Naomi loves Ruth, she has made the offer to set her free, to allow Ruth to return to her homeland and marry again now that her husband, Naomi’s son, is dead. Ruth doesn’t just refuse the offer, she is adamant that she will not let anything, even death, separate her from Naomi. Since Ruth has just suffered the death of her husband, this is quite a declaration; she knows exactly what she is saying.

Ruth’s forcefulness also gives insight into the kind of example Naomi must have been for her, a role model so strong that Ruth resolves to follow her example, to accept Naomi’s God as her own. These women know what it is to love others as themselves. They remind us that love has tremendous power and that even death can’t diminish the power of love.

Estelene Boratenski

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God of love, thank you for love, for family, for the certainty that love is a power greater even than death. Help me today to look for ways to love others as you have loved me. Amen.

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We are one in the Spirit,
We are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may
One day be restored:
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love.

Peter Scholte

Estelene Boratenski

Estelene Boratenski is a mother, writer, and teacher. You can learn more about her writing and her vocation on her web site.

Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life

Ken Medema

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