Love Your Neighbor

Love Your Neighbor

I have noticed there is a scripture which is quoted often by Christians. Surprisingly it is even quoted by people who are not Christians. The scripture is part of Mark 12:31 which is “Love your neighbor as yourself”. A very powerful scripture which reveals to us that we first must love our self and then love our neighbor with the same love.

I have even asked people what is the most important thing for a person to do and often the response I hear is “love other people” or “the bible says we are to love other people”.

While knowing this scripture has great benefit not knowing the scriptures surrounding it can lead to the wrong conclusion. Someone who is not familiar with the bible might believe, loving others is the most important command of God but let us look a bit deeper.

Mark 12:28-34 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the discussion. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this:Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second is equally important:Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbors as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” Realizing this man’s understanding, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Love God is the greatest commandment. So this leads to a second question “What does it mean to love God is it simply a feeling or a belief”? There are some verses that help answer this question John 14:15 Jesus said “If you love me, you will obey what I command”. “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments – 1 John 5:3.

If we truly love God with all our heart then loving our neighbor as our self is simply a result of our great love for God. We get #2 by default when we get #1 right!!

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