Are you a good person? Do you do good? If so, do you do good based upon opportunity or is it because of duty or obligation?
Likewise, do you love your neighbor? What kind of love is it? Is it love for those who share your views, religious, political and ideological? Do you have exceptions in terms of those whom you feel you cannot love? What are the reasons for the exceptions? (You can pick more than one)…
- Religios beliefs
- Political position
Perhaps Other might consist of…
- Loud and boorish people
- Arrogant know-it-alls
- People who are selfish and only self-serving
None of these? Great, doing well so far! But can you love those who…
- Betrayed you, stole from you, harmed you or someone you love?
- Convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison?
- Found guilty of pedophilia, mass murder or random acts of violence?
Do you see where this is going? I submit that our goodness and our love; our willingness to forgive and to genuinely love, and to love unconditionally with a heart that can quickly forgive, is a very small, stunted and skewed version of the possibility of loving unconditionally.
If you love someone, truly love them, you will do good for them and even do so anonymously. You won’t be seeking credit for your good works. If you can honestly see your own shortcomings, the deceitfulness of your own heart, your many flaws and foibles, you can forgive those you see in others, including those faults that you may not personally have.
Every one of us is an image-bearer of our Creator. Every one of us is a sinner, coming up well short of holy perfection. Yet every one of us has the hope of heaven if we can overcome and love both God and man…
It really is just that simple.
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.— Leviticus 19:18
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.— Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Jesus was asked a question, “what is the greatest commandment,” by a Pharisee who was considered to be “an expert in the law” (Matthew 22:34–36). Jesus answered by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37–40).