“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”

According to Jesus, this is the second greatest commandment, from Matthew 22: 34-40.

The first greatest commandment according to Jesus, of course, is “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind.”

What follows is equally important: “On these two commandments the whole law is based, and the prophets as well.”

So when I hear some people reciting all the commandments and all the rules and laws of the Old Testament, yet never hear them mention these two greatest commandments first, I wonder from which Bible they can be reading. They claim to know and love God, but how is it possible that they can claim to know this God? Who can claim to be a Christian who does not first and foremost observe these commandments?

Fear. Intolerance. Bigotry. Hatred. Outrage. Injustice. Disrespect. I’m sure you can come up with some additions of your own to this list.  These don’t come out of love.

If we just love God and one another as Jesus commands, every other human-related  problem will fall away. No other rule or law would be necessary. It’s really that simple.

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