Monday, October 12, 2015

Love Thy Neighbor

Life became much more complicated when the command to love our neighbors went into effect. The character on the television show spouting off the line telling us to look out for #1 may have an idea for keeping life easy, even simple in the short term, but Jesus gave us that command again. I don't need to cite examples in this, we all know by now that living life selfishly is easier in the short term. Even stalwart Christians will find such a strategy calling to them now and then. If I look out for me first and get all my problems beaten into submission, then I'll be ready and able to help out the person next door, right? Hmm, anything that starts out with 'me first' could be a problem as we follow Christ.

On the other hand, the command to love our neighbors was not one of ignoring the care of self and your family either. Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, perhaps in yet another attempt to trap Him with words, and He told us those two great commandments.

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

In another gospel, Jesus says that all of the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. The second is what we are looking at when we are called to 'Love thy neighbor'. Note that the commandment tells us to love our neighbor as our self. Not only do we love as well as, but at the same time as, and with the same regard as we love our neighbor. Is that backwards? Not in all cases I think, for some do indeed find it easier to love another and much harder to love what they see inside of themselves. God created both of us, the neighbor and the self, and He loves us with His perfect love.

Have a happy Indigenous Peoples Day!


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