Day 14

Thursday, March 4
Exodus 19:1-20:21

We all know children benefit from clear rules. While it sounds counterintuitive, children need the structure of rules to thrive and flourish. Rules provide consistency and predictability that is critical to the development of emotional well-being. And practically, rules help guide actions toward desired results. The problem with rules, though, is they can be manipulated and abused. Their purpose becomes distorted when they are used by others to judge or condemn us. Too often they can become a means by which we seek to earn approval and love. Or, they become a weapon used to beat ourselves up.  Too often, we equate following the rules with “being good” and breaking the rules with “being bad”.

Hear this -- You. Are. Good.

When I read The Ten Commandments I see Divine Love giving a gift to the Israelites -- a structure that will ensure their physical and emotional safety. This “covenant” is the promise of Love that says, “Live together this way and you will experience the fullness of life.” These Holy Rules are inherently a statement about our goodness. They weren’t intended as a means to earn God’s approval. Instead, they reflect to us God’s vision of us as a beloved community created to bring light and love to this world.

We know this is true because when the people manipulated the rules, making them harmful to themselves and others, God gave us a new covenant. A new promise of our goodness written on our hearts: “I will be their God and they will be my people … they will all know me” (Hebrews 8:10-11). Through Jesus we come to know God’s true nature as loving, compassionate, and inclusive. We learn that God is concerned for our well-being and wants nothing more for us to thrive and flourish. And we grow in our understanding that we are all connected, interdependent on one another. When we finally believe in both our inherent goodness and our undeniable interdependence we will see God’s Kingdom in all its glory.

Divine Love, thank you for your vision of a beloved community that thrives and flourishes. Help us to want what you want for us. May we trust in and live out of our inherent goodness. Amen.

Reflection by Sabra Engelbrecht

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