Have you ever read Luther’s Large Catechism? Many of us are familiar with Luther’s Small Catechism from our time in confirmation, but what is the Large Catechism? The Large Catechism is a collection of sermons that Luther preached expounding on the catechism. It was published to aid teachers and parents in sharing the faith with others.
One part of the Large Catechism that has always struck me was Luther’s explanation of the Ten Commandments. Luther builds a formulas while discussing how we are to love our neighbor based on the commandments. Many of the commandments follow this formula:
1. We must not harm our neighbor
2. We must not let them be harmed.
3. We must build them and their interests up.
It’s that last one that many of us ignore. Take a look at Luther’s comment on the 6th commandment: “In short, everyone is required to live chastely himself and to help his neighbor do the same.” When was the last time we thought about how we could help our neighbor live chastely?
Luther also says that if we fail to clothe our freezing neighbor, we have let them die. Jesus didn’t only say “Don’t hurt your neighbor”. He said “Love your neighbor”.
God calls us to proactive in loving others sacrificially. We aren’t called to simply not hurt others but to be active in building them up. That’s what Christ did. That’s what we do.