Matthew 22:39 NKJV - "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
I've heard a lot of Christians emphasize the "Greatest Commandment" a lot. That's in verse 37 where Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." But after He said that He also spoke of the 2nd Great Commandment too. He brought it up because, to Jesus, the two commandments go "hand-in-hand." You can't do the first if you aren't willing to do the second! And you can't do the second if you don't do the first!
Staying with that thought has made me realize that I've been guilty of so emphasizing obedience to loving God that I've neglected what should have been part of that obedience. Putting it as simply as I can: How can I say I'm loving God as I should when I'm not loving my neighbor as I should?
Now, I can imagine someone saying, "How can you put loving your neighbor above loving the Lord?" I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that even God Himself won't accept our saying we love Him if we don't show love for our neighbors! How can I say that?! Look at 1 John 4:20, 21 NKJV, "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." (emphasis mine) The Holy Spirit led John to write those words! God places obedience to the 2nd Commandment as proof of our obedience to the Greatest Commandment!
What else do you see Jesus saying? Our love for our neighbor is to be equal to the love we have for ourselves! I am to love my neighbor in the same way I show love for ME! Here is where the "Golden Rule" helps us understand "loving yourself." I should do for others what I wish for them to do for me. Saying it again, I should do for others what I would do for me. Do I care for myself? Yes. Do I want to recognize my own significance? Yes. Do I provide for myself the basic necessities of life? Yes. Do I indulge myself from time to time? Yes. Do I forgive myself when I do wrong? (Now, this is one of those issues we struggle with for we need to understand God's forgiveness to be able to forgive ourselves). So, the answer to forgiving myself? Yes! Therefore, how do I love my neighbor? Repeat the last five questions!
I want to write more, but even I want to rethink this again in my own life. So, I'll say more tomorrow in our next Daily Verse.
Daily commentary and insight from Pastor Eckardt.
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Mt Ephraim Baptist Church | 25 S. Black Horse Pike | Mt Ephraim, NJ 08059
Senior Pastor, Stephen A. Eckardt | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 856.981.7288