The Greatest Commandments: Part 2
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 NIV
How is your relationship with other people? Do you love your neighbor as yourself?
Loving others is definitely not always easy. As humans, we constantly fall short of treating each other well. You only have to turn on the news to see how true this is. Sure, we may find it easy to love our friends and family, but what about those people we always seem to clash with?
Jesus wants us to love those that are hard to love. In fact, this is one of the features that Scripture says should define us and followers of Jesus: that we would be known by our love. Everybody finds it easy to love people they like. Loving the difficult ones is where Jesus steps in.
We can too quickly treat loving people as another box to check on our list of “good things.” Loving people is about having a relationship with them, and Jesus can empower us to do this. It’s not our own strength that carries us, but the strength of Jesus that helps us to love people we don’t want to love.
This isn’t a guilt trip. I don’t want you to feel like a failure if you struggle with loving people. Recognizing the difficulty is the first step towards orienting yourself better towards Christ in this area of your life.
Think about some of the people you have trouble with loving like you love yourself.
Now spend some time in prayer with Jesus, asking him to help you love these people well. Pray that you will be further oriented towards Jesus, and that, as a result, you would imitate Him better. Pray those people you have difficulty with. Praying for them is an act of love in itself.