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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.’ [NIV]
The greatest commandment sums up the whole ten commandments of the Old Testament. While the ten commandments in the old testament tells the do’s and donts, what Jesus said in Matthew tells the reason why we should do and why we shouldn’t do the things listed in the ten commandments – It is because of our supposed way of loving God and others. He had raised the bar of what True Love is and instructed us to whom it must be directed – to HIM and others.
Loving requires the whole of us. We just cannot half-love. It is undivided. It is an act where all the faculties of our being are in unison. In the the message translation of the Bible, the first phrase of the verse is translated as – “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence”. Interestingly, passion is paired with intelligence together with prayer. We therefore solely feel, think and pray for the one we love. We solely feel and think about GOD and communicate to HIM. Loving God needs our undivided attention. All the dimensions of our life must be directed towards loving God. We can’t say that we love God in our hearts yet do what is displeasing to Him.
We must also love others the way we love ourselves. How we take good care of ourselves should be in the same measure as how we take care of others. The way we treat ourselves is how we must treat others too. In the same seriousness that we want to have an eternal life should be the same as how we want others to know how to have an eternal life. In the same passionate desire that we want to grow in our Christian life should be the same as how we want others to grow in their Christian life too. Rich Whitmer said, “If you love the lost, witness to them and if you love the save, disciple them”.
I often hear a radio dj in an FM station who gives advices to his callers and listeners about love. Most of them are young people and I am deeply saddened how every single time the callers converse with the dj, they never fail to associate love with problems. The topic most of the times depicts how people are incapable of loving and how their supposed love has been disregarded and abused by the one they love. Many of today have wrong concepts of love, to them, love and problems are inseparable. Being in love is an experience of a pair of joy and hurt, inspiration and disappointment, truth and lies, commitment and dishonesty, and even fear. When asked about love, cliches such as: Be ready to get hurt and don’t pour all you emotions over it, are common. The world’s definition today of the kind of love between opposite sex has been corrupted. The truth is that, True love never hurts. Hurt is the result of our wrong concept about love.
Opposite to how God defines love – love results to positive things and not problems. I believe that if we have to start talking about love, it should be about HIM first. Learning to first love GOD, first, results to an act of worship, surrender and harmony to his plans and purpose for our lives. Learning to first love GOD, secondly, results to loving others in a way that doesn’t bring hurt.