November 29, 2005

Love: The Greatest Commandment

I'm back from a wonderfully relaxing and renewing honeymoon. Thanks to those who passed along you congratulations and good wishes, Brenda and I sincerely appreciate them.

On our flight back home, I was continuing my study of the Book of Matthew and was struck by this passage from Chapter 21, verses 36-40:

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

It's love, stupid! How often have I been tempted to shout that at some so-called fundamentalist preaching hatred and condemnation. The message in the bible is not always easy to understand, but there are some key points that are very clear. One of those is that love is the fundamental value God wants us to live by. How do I know? Because Jesus told us so. He told us to love God first of all, then love each other as ourselves.

Love each other as we would want to be loved ourselves--the golden rule. How simple it is to understand yet often difficult to put into practice. It's really just as simple as looking at a situation, or evaluating what you are preparing to say, and putting yourself in the position of the person who is on the other side.

What would you want someone to do if roles were reversed in a similar circumstance? What would you want someone to say to you in the same situation? What would Jesus do?

It would be based on his love for us, which he demonstrated during his time on earth and by permitting his own death.

Start with trying to love others as you would want to be loved, and as Jesus loved us. If that foundation is in place, good things will happen in your life and you will be richly blessed.


  1. I totally agree. And I think a lot of Christians whom I would consider to be unloving would have no problem identifying love as the greatest commandment. I think the problem is that we have different ideas about how love can best be practiced, based on our different experiences, mindsets, interpretations of the Bible, etc.

    For example, if a person starts out with a full acceptance of the Biblical portrayal of God and believes that God is love, then love can and does include what I would see as hatred and condemnation.

    I often get frusterated with people who practice this brand of "love". But I can also understand their mistake. And I don't think they're necessarily stupid.

  2. Jacob's point is easy to understand. My loving parents would say that it was loving of them to vote recently to make sure that gays -- including their son and their favorite niece's daughter -- never have access to the legal protections of marriage in Texas because that is God's will. It is tough love, but it is of God.

    Of course, Jesus seems to have answered the question in the parable of the Good Samaritan, where the issue is raised in the context of whom to love as neighbor. He seems to say, love anyone in need, even your perceived enemy. And you do that by tending to their very natural needs, without worrying about whether or not they are worthy.

    Those who practice a love that entails hate seem to do so based on a faulty reading of selected Hebrew scriptures and excerpts from Paul. They are not at fault, perhaps. But as citizens of the United States, we have an obligation to make sure that mistaken perceptions do not harm other people. I don't have to convince my parents to think differently. But I believe I do have an obligation to do what I can to stop them from piling up kindling at the stake.

  3. Thats why God sent us Jesus so we would know how much God loves us.
    And the more we know God and Jesus the more we know to be true to ourself is to accept who we are and love ourself as God has created us.

    To be gay and to live a life of a stright person is really to be living a lie. And God commanded us not to hate and God also comanded us not to lie.

    I live that way for over 23 years. I was married and I also stuggled with my (christianany?).

    But the closer I got to knowing God with Jesus help and guidence the more I realized it was okay to be me. Gay and vary much loveing God and Jesus. And I will worship them all of my days of my lives as long as I can :).

    We love you Lord (\O/) (\o/) (\o/)