These two commandments formed the foundation of Jesus’ living here on earth.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and might.
Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Like Jesus, we also try to live those two commandments.
I love you – three precious words. When spoken and acted upon from the depths of our being, those three words are life giving, nourishment for both giver and receiver. It doesn’t come easily.
I find it difficult to say, “I Love You,” to the mystery that is God. We can manage to love tangibles – a person, an animal, even a thing. Most of the time, the best I can do is show my love for God through loving others.
Others aren’t always easy to love. God created this earth full of diversity. Each tree, each plant, each bug, each animal, each human being is totally different, one from another. All peas in the same pod may look alike on the outside, but even they are unique. The mystery is that God loves them all, every person and thing.
In spite of God’s all-embracing love, we habitually gravitate to those most like ourselves. In fact, we want everyone to be just like us. After all, it’s just easier to love those who are our mirror image, size, colour, values, actions, faith and more. Understanding those who are different takes effort, time, energy, learning, research, accommodation. To love one another, we need God’s help.
To make it even more difficult, that second commandment calls us to love one another as we love ourselves. Love myself? It’s so easy to see our own failures in billboard letters. One criticism, one mistake can wipe out a thousand successes and compliments. We look into the mirror and see every flaw. Our hair is too curly or too straight; we’re too tall or too short, or too heavy, or too skinny. The self-criticism goes on and on. Loving ourselves, just as God created us is a risk. From childhood, we’re taught that love for ourselves is vanity, conceit. “Pride goeth before a fall.” We use false humility to conceal our vulnerability.
Two simple commandments – difficult, but not impossible to keep. Remember, God makes no junk. We are all God’s wonderful creations. In the end, only through our love will our world find peace. We can do it, one person at a time, with God’s help. Nothing is impossible for God.