Jesus left us with the greatest commandment followed by a second great commandment.
Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)
36 “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.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Once you’ve experienced the love and grace of our heavenly Father, loving Him to this degree comes easier. Love is an action word. We can always love Him a little more, and we can never love him as much as He loves us. But we will continue trying!
But then we get to that second commandment. “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This commandment stands regardless of whether or not you have a personal relationship with that other person.
So how do we do this?
Hmmm. To do this to the best of our God given ability, I think we really need to make sure we are doing the first and greatest commandment well. Building our relationship with Him is important. Continue seeking him daily. Pray often, and walk in spirit. The stronger your relationship with God, the better you will do with this second commandment. And here’s why.
Have you ever had a really good friend and that friend comes and tells you, “hey! you just gotta meet this friend of mine, coolest person I know”. At that moment you know you are going to meet someone that may become your friend. So you are probably giving this person the benefit of the doubt and hoping for the best, in that your first meeting will go well.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
God is more than just a very good friend of ours. Perhaps we should have that same attitude with every person we meet since we know and understand that every person out there is loved by our Lord and Savior – and it’s God’s desire for this person to accept Christ be saved and live out the purpose God has intended for that person. Who is God going to introduce to you next? And how will you respond?
In that moment may we focus on loving our God with all our heart, soul and mind. And then may we be open minded to love that person, giving them the benefit of the doubt and hoping for the best always.