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Love Thy Neighbor

“’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.” Matthew 22:37-40

We throw the word “love” around quite a bit in today’s lingo, don’t we? We love our house, we love our kids, we love those new clothes, and we love chocolate cake. I hope I don’t love chocolate cake as much as I love my kid! Perhaps I do, if you follow one definition in the dictionary that says love is “a warm affection for someone or something.”

So let’s get serious about what love really is. Jesus sure was. And He didn’t make it real complicated for us either thank goodness. In the book of Matthew, Jesus outlines very simply and clearly just how He feels on the subject.

In the 22nd chapter of Matthew, we find Jesus being questioned by a number of groups. These folks weren’t just looking for answers — they were trying to trap Jesus in his own words, so they could discredit him. In the latter part of the chapter, Jesus has been approached by the Pharisees. These guys were the religious leaders of the day and they knew their stuff! We are told that the Pharisees were experts in the law.

We find that the Pharisees were testing him by asking about what was the greatest commandment in the Law. Jesus’ answer was quick, concise, and hit the nail on the head:

“’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.” Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus was basically saying “Love God, and love each other. I can’t make it much simpler than that.” I’m thankful that Jesus made it so simple that even I can understand it.

We all know what we are supposed to do even if it isn’t always easy. But what if, for a moment, we forgot about all the clutter we have in our minds and focused on what Jesus wanted us to do? Would it be so hard to hold a door, to say “thanks”, or heck, just smile at someone?

The great American poet Jimmy Buffett was once asked why as a larger-than-life individual that he is well known for his demeanor with folks. Buffett replied, “It only takes one more second to be a nice guy.”

My grandfather was my hero. I really miss him. As I look back today, I’m thankful for all those little lessons he taught me about the right way to treat others. I’ll always remember one summer morning when I was little. I had walked outside and found my grandfather taking out the garbage. After he got the cans situated, he put a cigar and a tall glass of ice water on top of them. When I asked him why he did this, he said simply, “Because he’s been out there working hard all day and he deserves a cold drink and a good cigar when he is done.” I’m grateful for his life lessons.

We are reminded this time of year, to love Jesus. We obviously need to take time to reflect and be thankful that He came and that we should love Him. But let’s also take a deep breath and focus on the second part of Jesus’ advice. Let’s love one another.

Ed Rivers
Recreation Director
Johns Creek Baptist Church

3 Comments. Leave new

  • And let us not forget that sharing the gospel with and nonbeliever….EVEN if they don’t want to hear it IS loving them….in fact there couldn’t be a more simplistic expression of the love than showing someone the way to salvation !

    God Bless this church and God Bless THE Church of Jesus Christ !

    Reply
  • Richard Killmon
    December 20, 2013 4:26 pm

    Well done,Ed,well done! Thanks for reminding us, that we should practice what these two verses tell us, each and every day!

    Reply
  • This is good to see .
    Most Baptist don’t belive this.
    I am a life long Baptist, went to a Baptist college.
    I now belive we need to love one another.
    If we say we love God and hate our neighbor we are lie.
    And not saved.
    The Baptist need to add love Thy neighbor to there statement of faith.
    The Baptist for the most part don’t know the will of God.

    Reply

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