The divide between loving God & loving our Neighbor

In the current state of the world, Christians are struggling with Jesus’ call to love our neighbor as ourselves. This was only listed second to loving God with all our hearts, souls, and minds. Why do we struggle with a command to love?

We live in a nation that has sacrificed love for distrust. Read the news headlines, we have sacrificed love for distrust of anyone that doesn’t look like us or vote like us. We distrust women & children seeking refuge, we distrust the very politicians we vote into political office. We distrust those who don’t go to our churches and those who don’t dress like us.

Our nationalism is valued more than our allegiance to our Savior.
Our safety is valued more than our allegiance to our Savior.
Our loyalty to party is valued more than our allegiance to our Savior.
Our savings accounts, insurance, retirement planning is valued more than our allegiance to our Savior.

The divide between loving God and loving our neighbor started when we decided who would be our neighbors. When we decided our neighborhood was no longer a good place to raise kids, when we decide what American is.

Christ never called us to security, safety, and an easy life. (He calls us to abundance which is an abundance of life) He calls us to give up everything for the kingdom. We would rather have security of a nation than be vulnerable enough to give up safety to follow a Jesus who was without a home and challenging the religious and political authority.

Christ calls all of us to love God with all our being and to make the world a better place. He calls us to challenge the authority that endorses racism, a patriarchal system that holds women down.

He calls us to put aside the things of the world, have we ever stopped to think the things He is calling us to put aside aren’t just possessions and land and money but are also the inequality and value we judge with?

Our systems in the United States are built around the uplift and empowerment of white men. It is a fact. Women weren’t given the right to vote but 99 years ago. Our brothers and sisters of color has been put through worse just to prove their humanity, being counted as only ⅗ human when the constitution was written. We still have a long way to go.

If we want to follow God’s commandment to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, and with all our mind and love our neighbor as ourselves we have to see each human as a creation of our Creator. Lovingly made by God. When we see people less than that they become without inherent value and therefore unworthy of the love we are to show them.

When Jesus answered the Pharisee’s questions of “What is the greatest commandment” He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus is telling us the law depends not only on us loving God, and extending the same grace to our family that we would give to a stranger, the sojourner, and the neighbor.

Want to change the world? Love someone you don’t agree with. Extend kindness to a stranger. Be kind in a world that is far from it.

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