Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Love your neighbor

Love your neighbor.
It's a big deal.
Jesus talked about it.

This is something that I neglect more often than not. Too often, our up bringing and our culture makes it really easy to love other people neighbors. That's why we do incredible work on mission trips to different communities and countries, and sometimes don't think about the person across the breezeway from ourselves.

Love is important. It's powerful. It is so powerful it is a name for our God. He is Love. Love is incredibly intangible and incredibly tangible all in the same. Love is not something we can buy at a store or even pick up off of a shelf, but we cannot go without it. Our system will shut down. Love is powerful. Love is hard. Love is what binds together all things in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3) Love first binds us in harmony with God (he showed is love through Christ) and love can bind us in perfect harmony with the people around us.

Love is important.

When Jesus was asked by the greatest practicers of the law what the greatest commandment was....Jesus (like always) didn't have the most concrete and simple answer the Pharisees were looking for. They were looking for a shortcut into heaven. They were looking for what they could DO in order to receive His grace. They were looking to dethrone Jesus and catch Him off guard.

Jesus' answer was two fold. He said the first is to love the Lord God with all your heart. Let's not fail to neglect the importance of this commandment. He says it is the greatest comandment. Without loving God...we can go no where else. That's a requirement and of the utmost importance.

But Jesus goes on to say "and love your neighbor as yourself."

Jesus says that from these TWO commandments, everything else falls into place.

Some people would say that loving God is the only commandment and that loving your neighbor, honoring your parents, and all of the other things fall into place after that.

But if that one commandment was able to direct us 100% toward where we are called to be, why would Jesus have included the second one? Why didn't it end with "Love your Lord God with all your heart. Then everything else will fall into place."

Here's what I think:
Jesus understood us better than we understand ourselves. He knew that it was possible to love God completely and neglect the people surrounding us. He knew that even our worship of him could become self centered.

Jesus was always challenging human nature, and unfortunately it's in our nature to not love our neighbor as ourselves. It's in our nature to provide and make ourselves happy. "BUT GOD being rich in mercy" had bigger plans for us. He envisioned a world where we would humble ourselves before him and even our neighbors.

Love your neighbors tomorrow like nobody's business.


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