CAN’T LOVE GOD, IF YOU DON’T LOVE PEOPLE
“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34—40)
The Sadducees and the Pharisees are religious groups who, at times, agree on some things and disagree on many other things. One of the things they agree on is to constantly question the legitimacy of Jesus’ claims to be the son of God and the authority he possesses. They always gang up on Jesus and question everything he does. In these two groups, some experts often come forward to try and trap Jesus with questions to discredit him. They look from every angle, trying to find fault. However, Jesus knew exactly what was in them.
The expert asks not to seek understanding to the question he asked BUT TO TEST Jesus. So many people ask questions not because they seek genuine understanding of their question but because they want to trap and discredit someone. The question was, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? The question was disingenuous. Jesus breaks down the ten commandments into two parts. The first part of the ten commandments deals with people’s relationship with God. The second part deals with people’s relationships with other people.
When our relationship with God is genuine, and we do everything that is required of us, our human connection also will be precisely how we related to how we relate to God. We are to treat others just as how God values and loves them. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind that is the greatest, but the second is LIKE IT, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Many confess they love God with all their hearts but can’t forgive their fellow humans. The apostle John said, “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. Anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
Loving an unseen God is easy because no one can see. But loving our fellow believers and family members is something else. I am reminded today that loving God with all my heart, soul, and mind is the same way I extend my love for others. This is a real problem for many believers and even pastors who preach about love and forgiveness and yet do not walk in it, myself included. I need to humble myself and seek God’s heart more, so I may be able to love others in my lifetime.
It doesn’t matter whether we are experts in whatever field in life that we may think; we still fall short of the glory of God’s standard of loving him by loving others in life. Our position and status in life sometimes is only something to hide behind. However, we are required, as one Prophet would say, He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord need of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.
Jesus’ words ring true in my own life. I need to see the need to walk humbly with Jesus and to love people as I love God. I know I am not there yet. I still have a lot to learn about how to forgive, accept and be kind and loving to people as I should. I will continue to remind myself of my solemn duty to love God with all of my heart, soul, and mind and to love people the same.
Jesus, thank you for your word today. I know I am far from having the kind of heart you desire for me to have in loving others as I love you. Help me to learn more and more to have a heart like yours. Teach me how to love people. Help me walk in humility, act justly, and love mercy as I walk with you. I need you, Jesus, daily. Amen!