“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. There are no greater commandments than these.'” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Hi Beloved! I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving. Now here we go, full steam ahead toward Christmas! During this busy time of year, let’s remember the true reason for the season. I know I get so caught up in Christmas preparations that I hardly take time to reflect on the birth of our precious Savior, but this year, I’m committed to making a conscious effort. And as the year comes to a close, I just want to share a message that has been on my heart.
We can probably all agree that 2020 has been a year of tremendous change. As Christians, we sometimes wonder how to respond to political, social, or economic upheaval. This year, we’ve been confronted with many serious issues and the solutions are not always clear. Disagreements and opposing opinions abound. Whether it’s regarding the pandemic, politics, or other current issues, it’s sometimes difficult to have a civilized conversation with someone that has a different opinion because everyone is so passionate about their position. It can be hard to understand why some people think or feel the way they do and we won’t all agree or understand each other at times. Nevertheless, the Lord wants us to remember His two greatest commandments. Above all, love Him and love others. Our response as followers of Christ should be love.
I want to focus on the second commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself, as that is typically the most difficult of the two. In Matthew 22:36-40, (see above) there are no stipulations. He didn’t say, love your neighbor as yourself, if they agree with you politically. Or love your neighbor as yourself, if they have the same beliefs, hobbies, or interests. Just love your neighbor as yourself. That doesn’t mean we have to love their ideas, words, or actions, but we should love the people.
Now, let’s look at what the bible says about how to love others. Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Though it’s easier said than done, what would the world be like if we all put those principles into practice? Can you imagine? What an amazing place it would be! It may seem far-fetched, but we can do our part. Though we can’t control others, we can control our own actions and honor God by keeping His commandments. It won’t be perfect, we will stumble and make mistakes, but let’s pray for His perfect love to abound in our hearts. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7).
Beloved, as you reflect on the events of 2020 and look ahead to next year, be encouraged and filled with hope, even in these times of uncertainty. Let’s love and care for each other and remember that the Lord is our constant. Love Him and trust Him. He is still on the throne and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen!
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Jesus Loves You,