We can learn from our own experiences what to do, and what not to do to others. Moses told the Israelites not to mistreat an alien, for they had been aliens in the land of Egypt. Slavery was an experience they would not want others to have.
Sadly, some who do experience sufferings want others to experience them too. People treated violently may end up in treating others violently themselves. Some who have violent, hurtful, and destructive experiences, don’t want others to undergo them, and will act rightly not to pass them on, and will even help those who have had violent and disrespectful experiences. That is what Moses wanted the Hebrews to do. That is what the law of God calls us to do. When people act in that way, they redeem others and heal themselves.
Someone abused or neglected in some way, instead of becoming an abuser or destructive person, becomes a healer, a redeemer, and deliverer of others. They make a positive and life giving response to suffering, instead of a negative and destructive one.
The way we treat others affects God’s actions to us. As Moses said: “You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry. My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword…”
Actions toward ourselves and others have consequences. We need to be aware of the consequences which follow some thought, word or deed. Good thoughts, words, and actions, will have good consequences. There are some words and actions which have permanent consequences, and which set definite courses in human and divine relationships.
We all know there are some words and actions that lead to deeper bonds with others, and some that retard, shut down, or prevent growth with others. The same works in our relationship with the Lord. If we reject some grace, some word, from the Lord, it means other graces and words from the Lord will be blocked.
Some good words and actions, when given and accepted, pave the way for others. Loving actions lead to a whole different set of consequences than hateful or indifferent actions. Repeated actions lead to habits, either good or bad. Most of the people who have serious health problems at a young age and die prematurely, do so as a consequence of bad habits, such as smoking, overeating, over drinking, and addictions of all kinds. People who fail to develop good habits of helping others, praying, living a life of faith, hope and love, also die prematurely. The scriptures tell us that, and modern studies affirm it.
People who are in positions of doing good for others are there because of good habits and repeated good acts toward themselves and others. Acts of love of God lead to a deeper life with the Lord, which also affects life with ourselves and others. “I love you, O Lord, my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.”
The Word of God encourages us to form good habits and ways of living. Paul told the Thessalonians they received the Word of God in “great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit”. The Word of God changed them. They turned from idols to serve the living God. Living in expectation of the Lord’s coming helps us live good lives in the present time. “Whoever loves me, will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.”
Life comes in striving to keep the greatest commandments of loving the Lord with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. If we are keeping the greatest commandment, it helps us to keep the second commandment of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Observing these two commandments leads to joy, health and life.
A major way we love God and our neighbor is helping them to know the Lord, and the Good News of salvation in Christ. Just as we don’t want to treat others in any bad ways we may have experienced, so do we want to treat them in the good ways we have experienced in our faith and life!