Some pride themselves on being rule-followers. Others see rules as made to be broken.

Think of these “Rules for Relationships” like a ruler – helping us get things straight, connecting two points, allowing us to be level and aligned.

When it comes to loving one another, God knows we need every tool we can get!

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The commandments, Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t desire what others have, and any other commandments, are all summed up in one word: You must love your neighbor as yourself.

Romans 13:9

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Do you remember when you first learned the Ten Commandments? One Sunday School teacher I know calls them “The Ten Best Ways to Live.” In today’s text, Paul says that those last five commandments God gave to Moses can be summed up in how we care for our neighbor. Don’t cheat, don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t try to get what’s not yours.

These laws are both literal and figurative. We may pride ourselves on not being murderers, but Jesus says that even hating your brother in your heart is the essence of killing. Even looking at someone lustfully is the essence of adultery.

Without God’s grace, these can be hard commandments to follow! But Paul says it really comes down to loving our neighbor as ourselves. You wouldn’t want someone to cheat off your test at school, so you choose to keep your eyes on your own work. You wouldn’t want someone to break the rules during a soccer game, so you play fairly too. It’s important to see that loving your neighbor as yourself only works when you actually do love yourself.

Cari Pattison

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“God, help me believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is.”


Macrina Wiederkehr

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Being human together can be hard.
Be gentle with yourself.
Be generous to others.

Love might require effort.
It might mean saying “no.”
It might include “I’m sorry,”
or “I don’t know.”

And when it comes down to it, loving your neighbor as yourself simply means paying attention to what you feel and need and offering the same to another person.

Go in love,
and God be with you.

Cari Pattison

Cari Pattison is a Presbyterian (PC USA) pastor, soon to start a new ministry call in the Mid-Hudson Valley region (NY). She spent the past year thru-hiking two-thirds of the Appalachian Trail and learning a lot about gear, birdcalls, and broken ankles. Originally from Kansas City, she loves both the flatland prairies of the Great Plains and the rolling mountains of the Northeast, and loves how Jesus comes to find you no matter where you go.

It Is Well With My Soul


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