“The Lord spoke to Moses: 'Tell the Israelites: When a man or woman commits any sin against another, that person acts unfaithfully toward the Lord and is guilty,' The person is to confess the sin he has committed. He is to pay full compensation, add a fifth of its value to it, and give it to the individual he has wronged.” Numbers 5: 5-7
In life, there are basically two kinds of relationships: Horizontal and vertical.
HORIZONTAL relationships are between other people and us. It is essential to have healthy horizontal relationships because we all have to get along.
If history has a theme, it should perhaps be, “Men don’t naturally get along .” Its subtitle might be: “How selfishness destroys community.” Watch the news. Men of selfish ambitions (personal or national) are always battling, to some degree.
VERTICAL relationships are between men & God. Mankind generally recognizes the idea of God, although most do not worship the true God. There are many worldwide campaigns for sincere spiritual discovery. Sadly, most of those searches are sincerely wrong. How can I be so bold as to suggest someone’s genuine faith is in vain? Because God has prescribed how His creation should worship Him. It’s not my opinion. It’s the truth of the Bible. Proverbs 14:11-12
How a person’s Horizontal and Vertical relationships interface is very telling of their spiritual condition.
When asked what is the “greatest commandment,” Jesus replied by quoting Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind.” Jesus quickly followed up his reply by referencing Leviticus 19:18. He said, “The second (greatest commandment) is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Put simply: Love God and love people. You cannot separate the two.
Numbers 5 teaches us that when we sin Horizontally, we are also sinning Vertically. When we sin against people, it is also unfaithfulness towards the Lord. That’s why the priests could seek the Lord’s judgment on secret interpersonal sin. All sin is a sin against Him, thus within His knowledge…perhaps an insight into omniscience.
If we don’t love our neighbor as ourselves, we do not love the Lord, our God, with all we have. Inversely, if we don’t love the Lord with all we have, we will never be able to truly love people.
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