“If”, before Rudyard Kipling

Leviticus 19

What does it mean to share what you have with others…?

9 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.

What does it mean to respect the possessions of others…?

11 You shall not steal…

What does it mean to play things straight, be honest and not cheat…?

you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another….

What does it mean to not walk the talk of faith…?

12And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord…

What does it mean to pay what you owe, when you owe it…?

13 You shall not defraud your neighbour; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a labourer until morning…

What does it mean to care for those who are not as able as yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually…?

14You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling-block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord…

What does it mean to do the right thing, to treat everyone equally and not according to what’s in it for you?

15 You shall not render an unjust judgement; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great…

What does it mean when you open your mouth and hurt the reputation of another…?

16You shall not go around as a slanderer* among your people…

What does it mean to not manipulate a situation to your advantage to the detriment of someone else…?

you shall not profit by the bloodof your neighbour: I am the Lord…

What does it mean to honour your family, even those you really struggle with..?

17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin…

What does it mean to be accountable to another and have the courage to speak up…?

you shall reprove your neighbour, or you will incur guilt yourself…

What does it mean to let go of whatever it is that hurt you…?

18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord.

If you can do all this, then yours is the earth and everything in it,

And what’s more – you’ll be the image of God, my daughter, my son.


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