The Second Greatest Commandment
It’s Harder than the First to Keep – Part II
Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:34-40 NLT
Key Verses: Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT) Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
After pastoring for some 44 years, I have learned that God’s people either do not understand the importance of the second commandment or they simply have given up trying to obey it.
If you have been around the church for long, you probably have been involved with or at least seen the kinds of conflicts that are sometimes prevalent in a church. Many of you have been a part of church splits and seen people leave the church hurt because of the way someone treated them. This does not seem to fit into the picture that Jesus paints in our Key Verse.
We are all human and will never be perfect in our behavior. However, the way Jesus described this idea of loving others as we love ourselves does not seem to give us any room for excuses.
Jesus named this command as equally important to the first and told us the entire law of God, as well as the demands of the Old Testament prophets, are based on these two commands.
Please take a moment and think about these words of Jesus. Why do some church folks feel free to act any way they want toward another person inside or outside the church?
If we are going to pay attention to anything that Jesus said, it should be these two commands. Yet church people fight over the color of the carpet and the songs that they do not like to sing in church.
Why are we church folks so quick to gossip about another person and talk down about the pastor, staff, and other church members?
Jesus did not just talk about this concept in these two verses, He referred to this idea over and over. Look what He said:
“And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matthew 12:36-37 NLT)
Why don’t these words warn church folks enough so they are careful how they speak to and treat other people?
God cares about how we treat each other and talk to each other, whether it is fellow Christ-followers or unbelievers outside the church.
My prayer is that for this year and beyond, God’s people take seriously the call given in God’s second greatest command. It is not easy, and it takes a lot of effort… but we must do it if we are going to obey Jesus’s words.
Father, please remind me and give me Your strength to love the people around me as You want me to do. I ask this In Jesus’s Name, amen.