“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40 ESV)
Again, here is a copy of the paragraph I had written two posts ago on the idea of love from 1 Corinthians 13:
“Enduring Love: It has a new kind of ring to it as I sit this morning and ponder the meaning of love. Love bears with all difficulties, while patiently and kindly clinging to and rejoicing in the truth. Love does not insist on (it’s own way) being out from under whatever difficulty the providence of God has required for the day, the week, or the year. It does not become arrogant, believing it deserves something or some situation that is better. It does not envy the life or lifestyle of another. And love never, ever rejoices in wrongdoing.”
People can be hard. Relationships can be hard, especially the ones that happen under the same roof. Yet we are called to love those around us with an enduring, selfless kind of love; for this is the second greatest commandment. What might "loving our neighbor as ourselves" look like?
First, this kind of love patiently bears under the weight of every difficult relationship. It not only patiently persists, but clings to and rejoices in the truth while bearing under these loads. The truth that is clung to is both personal and abstract. Truth is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who love clings to amidst every trial. Love also clings to every word spoken from the mouth of God. And these words are found solely in the pages of Scripture.
Second, while love is patiently waiting, it is not "becoming arrogant" and "insisting on it's own way." God's ways are always best, and he is sovereign over every aspect of our relationships.
Because of our sinful nature, we love ourselves selfishly. We don't think twice about meeting every need of ourselves. We love ourselves so much that we scratch every itch we have without ever thinking to ask our neighbor if they have an itch before we scratch our own. Loving our neighbor as ourselves fulfills every demand God has of us toward our fellow man. Loving God meets every demand he requires of our relationship with himself.
It is not as though we love God first. He takes the initiative to move our direction. Our love of him, and love of neighbor springs forth from a relationship he begins with us through Christ.
In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10-11).