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In the Gates



The Rule of Law: Government of Relationships (6)

It is always appropriate, when needed, to warn our neighbors.


But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner shall also be put to death.” Exodus 21.29

In our day of “tolerance” it is considered impolitic to suggest to others that their behavior might be out of line or even offensive in some way. And to label some practice as “sin” is considered extremely judgmental and not in good taste.

However, in a society governed by God’s Law, where we are our neighbor’s keeper and where we practice the requirements of love, we must not hesitate to warn our neighbors whenever they seem to be in danger of falling afoul of the requirements of God’s Law. It is not loving to see a neighbor wandering from the path of righteousness onto one that could lead to harm for himself or others, and merely to stand by and say nothing. Love requires that we instruct one another in the ways of God’s Law, and instruction at times can require us to admonish one another, lest we fall under the discipline of the Lord.

At all times, of course, we must speak the truth in love. We do not admonish another out of a sense of superiority but in the posture of a servant. We want the best for our neighbors; therefore love requires that we warn them, gently, respectfully, but truly, whenever they seem to be departing from the holy and righteous and good way of God’s Law.

For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the life of faith, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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