photo from: everydaywild.com
Love your neighbor as yourself. This, we know well, is the second greatest commandment:
“‘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)
All other commandments are encompassed in these two. So, loving God and loving others can take a ton of different forms. Not lying is one form. Being generous is another.
But the love which Scripture tells us to have for one another is deeper than our “doing.” Truly loving others depends on our loving God, as the second commandment follows and hangs on the first. The first- love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind- is about how we are. It’s with our whole being that we are to love Him.
When we love others, it’s to flow out from that all-encompassing, defining love that we have for God. Our ability to have that love at all comes from His loving us (1 John 4:19.)
Do you see the inter-dependency here?
To love others well, we must love God with our whole being. For our whole being to love God, we must love others. For us to love at all we must experience the love of God to have love defined for and instilled in us, uprooting our corrupted version of the concept.
It’s the love of God, forceful as the ocean surging through us and shaping us like a rocky shore, that allows love to change things.
When we want our loved ones to change their minds or hearts or ways…
During the times that are tough when we long for others to grow and heal and find worth in life…
As we rejoice with others…
While we cry out in loneliness, suffering, clinging to hope…
It’s that real love that really takes affect and changes things.
We can follow endless strings of advice and wise reasoning. Our book shelves can be filled with literature on strengthening relationships, reaching those around us, and becoming more selfless. In discussion we can adopt amazing, effective strategies. When others frustrate and hurt us we can do our best to forgive and to see the good in them.
But what we really need is the love of God. What we really need, to love others, is to love the Lord and to be loved by the Lord.
His Word doesn’t say “noisy clanging cymbal” for nothing. All of our doing and trying and striving can get other’s attention. It can make noise in their life, waking them up and making waves. Without love, it never turns to music. It never gains rhythm, direction, or purpose. There is no harmony with the heart that is hearing it –without the love of God.
As you look at others, trace your steps backwards. Step back to loving them as you do yourself, not as your style permits. One foot further, step into loving them because you love the Lord. Look to Him for the welling up inside of a more perfect love. And as you open up to be filled, step back further. Make the space for His love to be for you, too. Love because He first loved you, and that love will carry through.
This post is being shared on: #Thought-Provoking Thursday #Faith-Filled Friday, and #DanceWithJesus.