The greatest commandment.


We’ve all heard it a thousand times.  30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  No other commandment is greater than these.”  Mark 12.30-31

 What does verse 31 look like?

We usually think of our neighbors as those who live next door to us.  But, Jesus explains in the story of The Good Samaritan that our neighbor means all persons, enemies included. 

I love a Three Musketeers bar.  Does this mean I split half of it with my neighbor?

Is it extending forgiveness?  Is it the golden rule?

I’m curious.  What does loving your neighbor as yourself mean to you?

13 Comments

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13 responses to “The greatest commandment.

  1. A hard one, Dusty. I’ve pondered this many times. Is it being willing to have a single mom and her kids move in to your home because they need a place….and the mom and kids are so difficult that you just can’t do it?? That’s one I’ve struggled with recently. (Of course, my husband didn’t struggle with it at all) 😉

    Not sure we’ll ever know for sure. But, I’m going to keep loving the best I know how….however weak that may be!

    Your thoughts?

  2. Robin, I find it difficult in bringing balance on this one. By balance, I mean setting boundaries so that my family doesn’t suffer. Yesterday in a comment, I mentioned that Francis Chan doesn’t keep an emergency fund because of the vast amount of people in dire need today. While I love his heart, I also believe there is wisdom in saving.

    When I struggle with someone (and I have) who is my neighbor, I try to see the face of Christ when I look at that person. Some people make it difficult. Loving them still is what I think Jesus meant.

    And, when a loved one is need, and if I have a means to meet it, I do. I might even split my Three Musketeers bar. I said “might”.

  3. Well, what comes to my mind is, not judging them, because we don’t know their heart, or where they have walked, to get to that place, and we don’t want others to judge us in our weaknesses. How bout that one? lol,
    Great blog!

  4. I don’t feel I do this well, but loving my neighbor as myself would be to care for another as I care for myself. As selfless as I think I have been and can be, I still care for myself more than I do “my neighbor”.

    Sigh.

  5. I am not sure that loving your neighbor means you have to share everything with them. You just need to love them.
    I can love someone enough not to give them a hand out like I do myself when I am not doing what is right. As long as I am treating people with the respect all humans deserve.

  6. Lynn, great thoughts!

    Cindy, me, too. But, I’m working on it.

    Roger, well said. In the story of the Good Samaritan, we are taught to respect our neighbors who don’t share our religious beliefs, who are from a different country or culture – in other words, those who are different from us. And, while we all may share different opinions, beliefs, and customs, respect for humankind is where it’s at.

  7. Dennis

    Very tough question…..I would have to say honestly putting ourselves in another person’s shoes. Really engaging in what they are going through or in need of, and then asking ourselves what we would need if we were in a similar situation. Sometimes we limit our exposure by making excuses of why the person is in the situation or justifying their pain. I find myself in many instances trying to tell myself why I should just turn a blind eye to others needs. The problem is that God does not want that for us. Since I have never seen the hand of God reach down and physically touch another individual, he must use other means. For the most part that is us as his servants. There is so much love in reaching out a helping hand. Everyday I reach one out to God for help in my own life. All that he is asking is that we do the same for those where in that moment we are Christ in the real world, and the hand we reach out has been kissed by grace in heaven. If we truly do our job in this, when they take our hand, they don’t see us, they see the face of God.

  8. Sharon

    The same thing we have heard a 100 times when we were in school and what we say to our children now. Follow the golden rule. Treat others the way you would want them to treat you. Loving at all costs. Extending the same courtesy, kindness and respect that we think that we deserve.

  9. Judy

    Sometimes we get carried away thinking we can’t help everyone, such as Katrina Victims, so we help NO one…we need to think of helping just one and if that concept caught on, pretty soon everyone would be helped. You may not be in the position to buy school supplies for a class room of children, but you may be in the position to buy one child’s supplies…On the other hand we shouldn’t limit expression of love to meeting needs….

  10. Because God loves us, we love Him. Because I now know what love is – that Jesus laid His life down for us – I understand the concept of family, community, one church, one body. God loves everyone. If I really love God, I have to TRY and see what He sees in everyone. What I can’t do, the Holy Spirit continues. Loving is an action not a description. It all begins with a desire to love others, and that in itself is a gift from Him.

  11. marla

    Personally I think a Milky Way is ten times better than a Three Musketeers and if you buy a bag of bite size you could surely share with all your neighbors and have some to spare! haha Sounds like that Milky Way could be a stronghold in your life… you should probably give it away!!
    Seriously… “Loving my neighbor as myself” to me just says that you should extend love and kindness to everyone you come in contact with whether that means smiling at a stranger, holding the door open for someone, or helping someone out in their time of need. It’s so much easier to be nice than it is to be mean and it feels better too!!

  12. Karen

    To me, it’s mowing the side of the neighbor’s yard, when his hip was broken, & he’s so grumpy the nicest thing he can say sometimes is nothing. Or the man across the street, who thankfully recently moved. He worked at being hateful. The only way to “love” him was to ignore him & his actions. My “reward”? He & his wife, who was his clone in attitude, have moved to Grand Junction.

    John, the man with the broken hip, actually told me it may be best for my parakeets if they go inside when the neighborhood redtail hawk is flying around, so they aren’t scared so bad. For him, that’s kind.

  13. The Christian Ranter

    I like the old Reagan phrase Trust but Verify. I think we all should extend ourselves with our neighbors especially when they are in need, but not to the point of being taken advantage of. Some “neighbors” have a large hole in their neediness bucket which can mean emotional, financial, spiritual etc.; that can never be filled.

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