Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (37) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
When one of the Pharisees, who was an expert in the Law, wanted to test Jesus he asked Him which commandment was the greatest. Jesus gave the man two: To love God above all else and love others. There are times when I believe the church really needs some elementary lessons on that second commandment.
Sometimes I think that we forget that every person—regardless of their beliefs, behavior, class, or culture—are created in the image and likeness of the Holy God. While serving in the ministry over the years I have known many people who love God wholeheartedly but do not extend that same kind of love to their fellow neighbor. How important is this second commandment?
James 3:9 (NIV) With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.
Is it possible to love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds without loving our fellow human beings who are created in His own image? No; I don’t believe it is. I think we need to start seeing others the way God sees them. We need to see people as image-bearers of the one true God; people who have been created for a purpose; people for whom Christ died.
Let’s take a moment to look at some passages in the Bible that teach us how we should treat one another:
- Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor One another above yourselves (Rom. 12:10).
- Accept one another (Rom. 15:7).
- Instruct one another (Rom. 15:14).
- Greet one another with a holy kiss (Rom. 16:16).
- Agree with one another (1 Cor. 1:10),
- Serve one another in love (Gal. 5:13).
- Be patient, hearing with one another in love (Eph. 4:2).
- Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other (Eph. 4:32).
- Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19).
- Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph. 5:2 1).
- Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another (Col. 3:13).
- Teach and admonish one another with all wisdom (Col. 3:16).
- Encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thess. 5:1 1).
- Live in peace with each other (1 Thess. 5:13),
- Try to be kind to each other and to everyone else (1 Thess. 5:15).
- Spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24).
- Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other (James 5:16).
- Love one another deeply, from the heart (1 Pet. 1:22).
- Live in harmony with one another (1 Pet. 3:8).
- Offer hospitality to one another (1 Pet. 4:9).
- Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (1 Pet. 5:5).
I’m sensing a theme here.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him. God Bless!