The Second Is Like It

neighbor 5.jpg

Matthew 22:39 (ESV)

“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “

Jesus says that the first and most important commandment is to love the Lord your God will ALL your heart and ALL your soul and ALL your might.  In other words, we are to love God with our whole life!  With EVERYTHING:  Our thoughts and desires, our physical bodies and what we own and have influence over.  Everything.  And everything should mean everything. Check out this video with Samuel Jackson.  Link:

However, Jesus does not stop with the command to love God with your whole life, but he goes on to say that a second most important commandment is like it.  And it is:  Love your neighbor as yourself.

What does Jesus mean when he says that the second commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself” is likethe first and foremost commandment to “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your soul and all your might”?  Is it that they are similar because both commandments are about love?  Or is it deeper than that?

Let’s look at two passages in 1 John 4 to gain some greater insight into Jesus’ words.  The first is 1 John 4:7-8.  It reads, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  The second is 1 John 4:20–21, and it reads, “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  (Italics mine)

What is God teaching in 1 John 4?  He is clearly teaching that if you do not love people, then you do not love God.  Period.  These are sobering words that are difficult to hear and accept.

What Jesus and John are teaching is that the objective measure for how much we love God is revealed by how much we love people.  The second greatest commandment is like the great and first commandment because the second is a reflection of the reality of the first.  If I say that I love God with all my heart, then it will be reflected by how I love people with all my heart.  If I have a small amount of love for people (I lack compassion and patience; I don’t like being bothered with other people’s problems), then I have a small amount of love for God.  For, as His Word declares, “He who does not love his brother whom he has seen CANNOT love God whom he has not seen.”

Your love for Jesus is as big as your love for people.  If your love for others is small and you want to grow in your love for Jesus, then ask Him to help you increase your love for others… especially those who irritate you.  :o)