When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus answered, “To love your God with all your heart, mind and body. The second is like unto it, to love your neighbor as yourself.” He went on to say that everything that had been written or commanded before this was for these two things.
Paul also writes about love. He says “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
With these in mind, it’s time to take an internal look. How do we show our love of God? How do we show love to others? Which “others” are we supposed to love…who is our neighbor, anyway?
Love of God: Loving God isn’t necessarily about going to church. Church is important for our spiritual needs, but you can sit in church planning dinner and not paying attention to what you are hearing, saying or singing.
Loving God is about doing His will. Talking to Him in prayer according to the outlines Jesus gave us in the Lord’s Prayer…and loving God is reaching out to others. It’s very difficult to love God and hate other people. The two don’t mix well.
Loving Others: I have to admit that there are people I don’t like very much. It’s hard to love someone who has hurt you or a member of your family. God wants me to love them anyway. There is a difference. That’s one difficulty in my walk with Christ, but it’s not the only way to love others.
Look around you. Listen to what people are saying. If there is someone who can’t mow their lawn, you can show your love by mowing it for them. Is there a young mother with three kids under five? You can show your love by watching them for a couple of hours so she can have a break.
Don’t just look in your neighborhood. Do you see the guy collecting money for a shelter for abused women? He could probably use some cold water as well as a dollar or handful of change for his box. Opportunities to love others are all around us.
Loving as ourselves: This can be the hard part. It’s hard to love others if you don’t like yourself. This is something God can help you with. Whatever has made you feel that way can be healed. It may be a spiritual thing, and if that’s the case, you are loved and Jesus’ death atoned. Ask to be forgiven and then forgive yourself.
It may not be a spiritual thing. There are medical conditions that can cause us to feel this way. There is medication available (and herbs if that’s what you prefer) that can help. We need to address that problem just as much as we need to love God and love others.