Synopsis Deuteronomy 24:2-11 3/10/2018
Moses commanded the Israelites concerning a variety of issues. Concerning relationships; a man and woman cannot remarry after divorce if the woman has married someone else in the meantime. A newly wed man cannot be compelled to serve in the military for one year.
In lending, Moses commanded that a lender cannot take as pledge some essential piece of equipment – like a handmill or a cloak. Also, a lender cannot enter the house of a debtor in order to collect a pledge. He reminded the Israelites to follow the instructions of the priests in all matters of disease – especially skin disease.
People are not objects. Moses’ commands show that God doesn’t accept an attitude that objectifies the other person. So, it is inappropriate to take back a divorced wife who has married another. This turns her into a commodity.
Similarly, a lender must remain outside the house of a debtor to collect the pledge. The debt does not make the indebted person less worthy of respect. And the debt does not justify taking as a pledge what is life-essential for a person to survive.
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
I suspect that most people share in the intuition that they are made in the image of God – that they are created with a certain interiority, with an independent will and with some creative capacity.
I experience life this way.
The challenge of relationship is in recognizing this same divine reflection in others. Do I see you as a means to my ends – a way of getting what I want? An object.
Or do I see you as a person “like me”, Imago Dei.
So this is the relational call of Christ. To not see the other as a person is a deep and persistent failure. It is a chosen blindness.
“If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” 1John 4:20