Jesus said, A second [commandment] is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. Matthew 22:39-40 NLT
Jesus makes it plain that it is not enough just to love God. We must love others.
If anyone boasts, I love God, and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:20 MSG
It can be easy for us to love inanimate objects. We love our houses. We love our cars. We love food. It can be easy for us to direct our love toward a God who loves us and never fails us, but what about His children? Can we love them as we love God?
I’m learning more about this now that I’m a grandmother. My children, and especially my grandchildren, don’t have to do anything to deserve or win my love. I love them because they are my children. I believe that God desires us to have the same love for one another as He has for us, simply because we are His. This might, and usually does, require some sacrifice on our part.
Our youngest son, Luke, loves the city! I don’t mean a small town like Kansas City—I mean the CITY like Chicago! He lives there with his wife Rachel and they are a part of the Leadership Team with We are Mission Church.
Luke asked me one day, “Mom, why is it that I love the cities?” To me the answer was obvious, “Luke, it’s where the people are.” They are dedicating their lives to reaching the city and their new communities with the love of Christ. This was no small choice for them; it required much prayer and sacrifice on their part. They’ve left everything comfortable and familiar to them to follow a prompting they believe is from God. Because they’ve chosen to love God by loving people.
In the months to come, they will talk with many people who are far from God, and they will have an opportunity to love God by loving people. They will truly be able to love their neighbors as themselves. What about you?
Think and Act
Can you commit to reaching those around you—your neighbors, coworkers, family, friends—with the same love that you have for God?