I remember when our daughters were little, my husband used to tell them, “people are more important than things.” This lesson usually came about as a way to explain why we need to share with others, behave courteously, keep our promises, etc… Guess what, when you look at the Bible, both New and Old Testaments, our Heavenly Father teaches this, too.
For example, the Ten Commandments are all about relationships. The first group of commandments tell us what our relationship with God should be like:
- Don’t put other Gods before the true God
- Don’t make or worship idols (in case you think this doesn’t apply in modern times think about how we can idolize our possessions, our public standing, our money or even our family).
- Don’t take God’s name in vain
- Keep the Sabbath appropriately
Basically respect God and give Him the proper place in your life.
Then we come to the question of how we must treat other people:
- Honor your parents
- Don’t commit murder
- Don’t commit adultery
- Don’t steal
- Don’t tell lies about your neighbor (and remember, everyone is your neighbor)
- Don’t envy and desire what rightfully belongs to another
In other words, we are not to harm others, even with words or thoughts. We are to respect and honor relationships with our parents, spouse, and everyone else who comes into our life.
In the New Testament, Jesus reinforces the Commandments and takes them a step further when He says:
“You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and all the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
According to Jesus we are not only to respect God and people. We are not only to do no harm. We are to love them. It all comes back to relationships, and it all comes back to love.