S (Scripture): Matthew 22:34 Now when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they assembled together. 35 And one of them, an expert in religious law, asked him a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
O (Observation): Jesus is in the midst of some pretty testy conversations with the religious and political leaders amongst the Jews. Jesus has challenged their ways of ruling and overseeing their religious practices. Jesus sees that they have become comfortable in their traditions, but seem to have forgotten of God’s grace and mercy.
In summing the commandments into 2 basic commandments, Jesus highlights the heart behind the Law (10 Commandments). Loving God, Loving Neighbor. That’s it.
A (Application): Problem is, I know a lot of folks that see this as being too lax in the approach to being a Christian in the world.
Loving God & Loving Neighbor is my mantra. I act (as best I can) according to this. That means that those I agree with and those I disagree with fall under this umbrella of Love.
Spelled out a bit further, I like to Invite folks into a relationship, and I like to show some Challenge when I disagree. What guides those responses? LOVE, I hope.
I admit my approach to challenge has been overwhelming at times when it comes to those with whom I disagree, theologically. So I continue to grow in my approach to life and understanding my neighbors.
Some people see this mantra as leaving room for people to choose whatever they want…to never be sorry for their actions…to not have any standard of living. I disagree. I think that when we love people, the Law will do its “thing.” The Law will convict people to feel sorry and repentant. The Grace of God will welcome them back in and open them up to truly living and loving God and neighbor. And that cycle occurs constantly. Seeking repentance and receiving forgiveness is a daily venture for all Christians…and being set free allows us to love God and neighbor.
How does this all work for you? Is Love God & Love Neighbor good for you? Is it lacking?
P (Prayer): God of grace and mercy, we thank you for loving us through thick and thin…for giving us love and setting us free to love you and our neighbor. Amen.