‘One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”’ – Mark 12:28-31
Loving God means faith in action. But if that’s the case, then how do we live that out?
The answer is obedience. Faith in action means obeying God’s commandments. That pretty much covers the first part of the Scripture referenced above: to love God with everything we have. But today, we’re going to focus more on the second commandment in the verse: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Yeah, right, you might be thinking. You clearly don’t know my neighbor!
Ok, let’s break this down a bit. First of all, we need to understand what the word “love” really means. The LOVE referenced in these verses has nothing to do with feelings or emotions. It doesn’t even have anything to do with liking another person. This kind of LOVE is a decision of the will – whether you feel like loving or not.
But how can I love somebody if I don’t even like them? Believe me – you can. Here’s how:
- Treat them fairly.
- Show them respect.
- Be honest with them.
- Keep your word.
- Demonstrate that you can show you care for them through your actions.
What would you add to that list? You see, there are many ways to demonstrate love towards people you might not necessarily always like.
But that’s not all. Have you ever thought about the eternal destiny of those around you? Think about those difficult to love neighbors. How well do you really know them? I mean really know your neighbors – more than just a quick wave and hello as you’re getting in your car to leave for work, or mowing the grass, or maybe grilling hamburgers.
Jesus tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12: 31). This means knowing that you have loved them enough to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them, especially now during the Christmas season. There’s no better time than today!