Monday Morning Devotional

Week of February 18, 2019

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” --- Luke 6:31

In a TEDxLondon Talk, John Sutherland, a twenty-five year veteran of London’s Metropolitan Police, shares a principle from forensic science known as Locard's principle. Developed by Dr. Edmond Locard, a French scientist born in the nineteenth century, the principle remains fundamental to the way in which crime is investigated to this day. The principle simply is this: every contact leaves a trace. In other words, Sutherland says, “every time two objects come in contact with one another, an exchange takes place.”

Sutherland’s experiences as a police officer led him to write the book, Blue: A Memoir in which he gives the following example of Locard’s principle:

“Take a burglar for example. When he breaks into a house, he leaves traces of himself behind at the scene: a footprint in a flowerbed, blood or clothing fibers on the jagged edge of the broken windowpane, fingerprints on the cupboard doors. And he takes traces of the scene away with him: mud on the soles of his shoes, microscopic fragments of glass all over his clothes, the jewelry he’s stolen…Evidence left by the suspect at the scene; evidence from the scene carried by the suspect. Because every contact leaves a trace” (p. 61).

Today’s passage comes from Luke’s parallel to the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus calls us to a remarkable reversal of values from those the world deems desirable. These values all flow from the call of Jesus to love. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:27-28). The Golden Rule, as it often is called, is crucial to understanding the demands of love for the follower of Christ, a love that includes every person, even one’s enemies. Those who choose to live in this way will never regret it. “Your reward will be great in heaven and you will be children of the Most High” (Luke 6:35).

In the TedxLondon Talk, Sutherland explains how Locard’s principle applies not only to forensic science, but also to our human relationships:

“Every time two people come into contact with one another an exchange takes place - whether between lifelong friends or passing strangers. We encourage, we ignore; we hold out a hand or we withdraw it; we walk towards or we walk away; we bless or we curse; we love or we hate. And every single contact leaves a trace. The way that we treat and regard one another matters. It really matters. And in an increasingly uncertain and often frightening world, it might even be the thing that matters most of all” (June 22, 2017)

Lord, even when we were at our worst, you were kind and gracious toward us. Help us to live out this God-created identity just as you have (adapted from Luke 6:35, The Message).