Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Love Your Neighbor

"Jesus replied: '"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself."'" (Matt. 22:37-39)

In these two commandments there are two objects of love: "the Lord your God" and "your neighbor." You are to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. That is the means.

In what way should you love your neighbor? The same way you love yourself. "Yourself" is an object already greatly loved by you and therefore is the standard by which you are to love your neighbor. Even those who have a low "self-worth" have great love for themselves. They are more concerned for themselves than they are for others; therefore, they are commanded to love their neighbors as they love themselves.

How can we obey the command to love? For a start, calculate how much time you think about yourself. Second, list all the things you do for yourself and the time you spend on yourself, including showering, dressing, brushing your hair, eating, sleeping, and studying. Third, admit that these are expressions of love for yourself. Fourth, admit that you do not love your neighbor (even your best friend) as yourself. Fifth, admit that this is a violation of the second commandment and a sin that needs God's forgiveness. Turn to Him for this forgiveness for all the past unlove you have had. (This will not make you suddenly loving, but it will make you clean and bring you into a position from which you can love your neighbor.)

Now for the positive. Decide to love your neighbor. This is an act of the will; it is not an emotional feeling at first. After we choose to obey God, He will provide the emotion and the means of expressing that emotion so that it is not phony. He is the source of all love, but love is put into effect by an act of the will. When I say an "act of the will," I do not mean willpower. I mean will as in choosing or deciding only. The power is God's. The choice is ours.

No comments: