But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matt 22:34-39
I’ve been sitting mentally on verse 39 – "And a second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself." I could make a blanket generalized "we" kind of statement about how "we" gloss over this second part because of the weightiness of the first one. But I won’t do that, since it’s "me" who’s wrestling with the words right now.
First, there’s the idea from Jesus that "loving others" is like "loving God". Like/as propositions at work here, with "love God" being the first one and with "love others" being like it. Point being: loving others is as much a part of loving God as loving God is. I can’t love God and be an unloving person. It’s something that we know intuitively, but then we put off the "love others" in order to focus on "love God". Going to church every weekend is a major moment for arguments because someone in the house is usually more concerned with being at church and "loving God" than they are with the well-being of the family and maintaining some kind of harmony in "loving others". That’s just one example, not even going to the Inquisition, Salem witch hunts, or the current political campaign commercials. As long as we love God, it’s okay to not love some of the others in our world – that’s the way we live this one out, that the latter is lesser and not on the same footing as the former.
More later – any pushback?