Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
In this passage there are two commands. Jesus says that the entire Law and the Prophets hinges on these two commands. Some have, I believe, emphasized one over the other which makes the Christian life incomplete.
Loving God is more important than loving your neighbors, period. Jesus says it right in this passage: “this is the greatest commandment.” We cannot neglect our neighbors simply because the first commandment is greater though. Just because we could always love God more does not mean we should neglect our neighbors.
On the other hand, we were not created for social justice, but for God’s pleasure. He wants relationship, not worker bees.
What do we do then? Where is the balance?
I don’t think there is a balance. I believe that each person goes through seasons where one is highlighted more than the other. I also think that they overlap some…loving your neighbor could be an expression of your love for God. I suggest we simply jump into the ocean of God’s love and grace and let that love overflow to those around us. What I am saying is that we should focus on both instead of just one.
Please don’t get sucked into making an unnecessary dichotomy between these two commands. Do both.
I would like to explore this further. If you have any thoughts, please share.
Walk in Love my Friends,