“Don’t ignore your responsibility.” Deuteronomy 22:3

Lately while driving in the car, my 8-year-old has been noticing various traffic laws and asking all sorts of questions, all while using “the force” to keep traffic lights from turning red before we get through them. We have had many discussions while driving on the reason for speed limits and why stoplights and stop signs are important. He is starting to figure out that these various rules, while they may feel restricting at times, help keep us safe.

Our lives seem to be full of rules and suggestions that are meant to keep us healthy and safe. We are told to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, not to look at a screen an hour before going to bed, and of course to treat others as you would want to be treated. We encounter multiple rules and scenarios in the reading from Deuteronomy 21-23 today, ranging from a mysterious murder to marriage to how you are to treat your neighbor. All of these rules and guidelines were established by God for the Israelites to keep them safe and set apart from others. They were intended to keep the people safe, both hygienically and societally, and to equip them to love others.

One of the key phrases that stuck out to me is from Deuteronomy 22:3 where it says, “Don’t ignore your responsibility.” The context here is when seeing our neighbor’s property roaming freely, we are to return it back to them. We have all experienced this at some point, right? Maybe not with a neighbor’s ox, sheep or goat, but with any sort of situation where help is needed and we have the chance to act on it. Sometimes it is easy to respond and other times we might be in a hurry or not wanting to be inconvenienced. But here we read that as a way to love God and others we are to stop our own agenda and to help those in need.

Questions for reflection:

  1. What everyday rules and suggestions within our society are you thankful for?
  2. What does the phrase “Don’t ignore your responsibility” bring up in your heart and mind?
  3. What is one way you can try to live out the idea of responding to someone in need today?