4 June 2021 – Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
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.
Verse 37 and 38 of this passage is a simple commandment. Though difficult in practice it’s command is very direct and clear. What I find particularly interesting though, is the second commandment, verse 39, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” It seems in all the history of the world, thus far, we have found it incredibly difficult to keep this second commandment of God. All the wars, mass genocides, prejudice and oppression of people groups are simple evidence of this failure.
Many of us have such strong zeal for the first commandment of the Lord but often lack the same for the second commandment. This leads us down many paths. Could it be that we still hold strong prejudices towards our neighbors that we have difficulty looking past? Could it be that we have not been shown love and so we have difficulty showing it to another? Or could it be that we do not love ourselves and so we reject others as such too?
These are certainly difficult questions to answer and some introspection may be needed. If you find yourself falling short in this second commandment, here is a helpful nudge in the right direction: remember how much God loves you and then begin loving others in the same way. “For God so loved the world that He gave only son. That whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) To love is to give. If you find a neighbor in need, find the time or resources to help them out a little. By building up the muscle of giving you begin to build your capacity to love others. Lastly for some, maybe in loving others the way God intends you to it will remind you how much He loves you too.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in your current situation
Think of anyone you know who is an essential worker and spend time praying for their specific needs. You could even message them and ask if they would like prayer for anything in particular. Pray for energy and perseverance for essential workers as they continue to serve in their contexts.