The Great Commandment Matthew 22:34-40
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

While these commandments should be our goal each day, it’s generally around the holidays that many of us focus on giving and receiving and turn our attention toward acts of love. Defining love has been the subject of many conversations, books and songs. Universally, we all say we agree that God is Love. However, what we don’t universally agree on is who God is. If we lack agreement on the first commandment, how do we effectively do the latter commandment of loving our neighbors as ourselves?

Absence of meaning and purpose in a life is a cause for most of the pain in one’s life OR the pain we inflict upon the lives of others. Therefore, how we relate towards others is a direct reflection of how we relate to ourselves. If I’m not loving towards myself, I’ll find it hard to be loving towards anyone else. If I can’t extend myself grace and forgiveness, I’ll find it difficult extending grace and forgiveness to others. God set the standard by showing us that anything we want, we have to first be IT ourselves. Why do we love God? Because while we were yet His enemies, He demonstrated His love for us … I John 4:19 says we love Him because He first loved us. When you have a society of individuals who have exacted their own standards for right living believing “I can do as I please, when I please,” we are destined to have chaos and pain. Philippians 3 says the god of these people is their own belly and their minds are set on earthly things. So they have fashioned a god of their own creation, to their own liking and will thus love you according to their own standards and not God’s. Forgiveness is the highest form of love; Love your enemies. If we only love those who love us, what reward do we get? If we profess that we are the sons of the Most High God and God is love, by loving our enemies we are in essence a reflection of God’s heart, HIS LOVE, for them. In this season of giving, give yourself the gift of love and forgive those who have offended you. Love really is the answer!

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