The Greatest Commandment.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
(Matthew 22 36-40)

There has been a lot written about LOVE. But what is it?
As far as I know there is only one definition of love in the bible.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13 4-7 NLT)

Love has 8 parts,
Patient: not jumping to conclusions or making rash decisions,
Modest: unassuming, humble,
Giving: not jealous or envious,
Forgiving: non demanding or irritable, not holding past transgressions against others,
None judging: accepting others for who they are,
Truthfulness: Honest to ourselves and others,
Enduring: Faithfull, hopeful, never ending.

A lot of people confuse other feelings as LOVE. Desire, greed, envy, craving, obsession, gluttony, control over others, dependency on another, and even sex are all feelings and behaviours that we attach the label of LOVE to. Our sinful nature often gets in our way. Impatience, envey, pride, unforgiveness, dishonesty and giving up are all feelings and emotions that may control our lives. How often do we put conditions on our love for others? How often do we feel let down because we have not been recognised for what we have given. How often have we felt like a “mushroom”, or left out of something? How often have we been the cause of some hurt or damage because we have felt unloved?

The Greatest Commandment has three parts:
1) Love God,
2) Love thyself,
3) Love others,

1) Love God,
To LOVE GOD is to LOVE life itself, because we are of GOD. To LOVE the Lord is to LOVE what he has given us. To have a joy in life is to appreciate what we have been given. God gave us the heavens and the stars to be amazed by his glory. His signs and wonders are everywhere to be seen, if we stop to have a look. How often do we take for granted what GOD has already given us? How often do we do things for our own glory instead of our father’s glory?

Our father made the forests and trees perfect in his own image for us to cherish and look after. We may see a tree and think to our self that a branch is in the wrong place or some leaves need to be removed. The more we make the tree perfect in our own image the less perfect it becomes in our father’s image. Are we not the same? The more we make ourselves perfect in our own image the less perfect we are in our father’s image.

A lot of people look for signs, wonders and miracles as our fathers love for us. I am not saying that there is anything wrong in this. They are wonderful expressions of his presence. However there is a danger of becoming preoccupied with these manifestations. A person may become disappointed when they no longer happen, or, not recognise or understand where they come from.

I would like to relate an incident a few weeks ago.
I have been giving bread and cakes to a group of people at a community centre. They are elderly and pensioners. I felt a great sense of sharing gods love and planting seeds in the harts of those that receive the food. I remember one week that I did not attend and I heard that there was some grumbling and disappointment that I was not there. I think there is a moral in this that when we start taking our father’s love for granted or put conditions on his love we become disappointed and blame our father for our troubles.

2) Love thyself,
Jesus clearly states that we must love our neighbour as our self. What does this mean?
To LOVE our neighbour as our self is to LOVE, honour and respect each other as we LOVE, honour and respect ourselves. To do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This is not vanity or pride, but a LOVE and peace in our heart and a good will to our selves and others.

How can we love our partner if we don’t love our self?
How can we love our children or parents if we don’t love our self?
How can we love our enemies if we don’t love our self?
Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. When things don’t go the way we want. When the world crashes around us we can become angry and bitter and look for love in all the wrong places.

Some people look for love in violence; they love to hate.
Some people look for love in drugs.
Some people look for love in prostitution.
Some people look for love in money and power.
Some people look for love in cults and religion.
Some people look for love in their pets.

If we can not be kind to our self we can not be kind to others.
If we can not be patient to our self we can not be patient to others.
If we can not be giving to our self we can not be giving to others.
If we can not be humble to our self we can not be humble to others.
If we can not forgive our self we can not forgive others.
If we can not be accepting to our self we can not be accepting to others.
If we can not be honest to our self we can not be honest to others.
If we can not be enduring to our self we can not be enduring to others.

I spent 20 or so years loving people with high support needs that no one else loved. I put the needs of others above my own needs. I forgot about myself. I became depressed, fragile, withdrawn and lonely. I have been to a place where there is nothing and it is not good. Through the love that I have received I feel more confident and at peace with myself. I have met some wonderful people with lots of love to give.

3) Love others,
It is only by LOVING others with a genuine LOVE that comes from our father that we can live fulfilled lives.

LOVE does not come from outside, but from inside. It is the genuine LOVE for others that comes from GOD the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that makes us whole. GOD does not judge. GOD does not destroy. GOD is patient. GOD accepts us for who we are. GOD LOVES us, so shouldn’t we love each other. God made us in his own image. God is LOVE and the Holy Spirit lives in us all.

How can we hurt another person if we have a genuine unconditional LOVE for them? After all didn’t Jesus remind us that while it is OK to LOVE our brothers we are no better than anyone else? It is only when we have a genuine unconditional LOVE for our enemies that we really know our fathers LOVE.

Does a husband LOVE his wife? Does a wife LOVE her husband? Does a father/mother LOVE his/her children? Does a child LOVE his/her parents? But how do we show our love to others? Unfortunately there are a lot of people who have not experienced this genuine LOVE that comes from our father. Love to some is being abused physically or mentally. Love to others is being locked away or abandoned, or a complete lack of empathy, respect or interest. We can also give to another any amount of physical bits and pieces, but if we have not given them LOVE we have given them nothing.

We all have trials and tribulations in life. If anyone thinks that they are no longer sinners then they are sadly mistaken. Whatever happens there are going to be good and bad times. Sin is not against our father (we have been forgiven) but against each other. How often do we blame our father or others for our own troubles? We are not perfect, but love is made perfect in us through our love for each other. Love is more than any human desire. It is the embodiment of life itself.