Love Your Neighbor
“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.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
One of Jesus’ most clear roadmaps to wellness can be found in Matthew’s Gospel. Love God with all of yourself, and love your neighbor as yourself. The Gospel is not meant for the individual; instead, it was handcrafted with relationship in mind.
Why is the Gospel relational? Because God is relational. Author Michael Reeves asks the question, What was God doing before Creation? He then provides the answer: before Creation, God was loving His Son. God, revealed in the Trinity, is and always has been in a deep, loving relationship with the Son and the Spirit. By definition, God is loving the Son; Jesus is being loved by the Father and extending that Love to us; and, the Holy Spirit is loving us and revealing the Father and Son, whom He loves, to us.
What a beautiful relationship. Because of the loyal, everlasting, unbreakable love shared between the Father, Son, and Spirit, we are able to live resurrected, redeemed lives. Because of their love, we are made free. Because of their love, we love.
Perhaps it is this very triune relationship that the Great Commandment is modeled after. We are invited into a love relationship with God, one that is created to occupy, fill, and revive every part of who we are. Then, receiving that love upon ourselves, we turn around and extend it to our neighbors. The Gospel was not made for the individual. Neither was Love. Neither were we.
The Beloved disciple says this, “if anyone says they love God but hates his brother, he is a liar” (1 John 4:20). Do you see it? To encounter the true God is to encounter a love that never stops moving. By nature, God’s love is in constant outpour. God’s love is always giving, always finding new corners to occupy, always other-centered. This is what we’re called to reflect. The true mark of discipleship is our love for others (John 13:35).
How can we afford to model our lives after the Trinity’s love? 1 John 4:11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” In other words, our love is sourced, driven, and inspired first by God’s love. We’re made in the image of God and so is our love. That means we don’t have to create the love we give away, instead we use God’s, which He’s giving to us constantly through the beloved Holy Spirit. Our resource is endless.
Jesus’ greatest commandment is about relationship. Not because He wants well-behaving people, but because He longs for us to experience to unity and joy that He shares within the Trinity (John 17:11). Jesus has given us this roadmap because He knows how good it is. Not only will it get us where we’re going, but the journey will be enriched significantly the more we step into and give away divine love.