Love thy Neighbor

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christianity is the largest and most widespread religion in the world, so I wanted to devote some time to one of its most well-known teachings - "love thy neighbor".  Here are some passages:
  • "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."  (12:28-31 - King James Bible, Mark)
  • "Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."  (3:10-11 - King James Bible, 1 John)
  • "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  (5:14 - King James Bible, Galatians)
  • "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."  (15:12 - King James Bible, John)
All these quotes are saying the same thing to me - be loving to your fellow man.  So, my question is, what do you think would happen if mankind started to truly follow this commandment?  World Peace?  Elimination of Prejudice?  Seems to me that it all comes back to love.  So truly, what would happen?


The Peddicord Post said...

Yes, so many things come to mind when I think of the issues concerning "love thy neighbor." How does one learn to love? I believe we learn to love by learning to obey. I guess that sounds weird, but I take that from John 14:15-17 where Jesus says,"If you love me you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth." So by obeying we show God we love Him and in return He gives us the Spirit of truth.

Knowing the truth, helps us to walk in love and in so doing we should be able to treat people lovingly. What is true love? I believe true love is explained in 1 John 4:7-12. My favorite verse is verse 10, "Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (substitution) for our sins."(Holman CSB) It's no wonder that we love God, but the fact that God loves us in our imperfect state amazes me. How then can I withhold love from someone else? I John, especially chapter 4, is a powerful book about love.

Honestly, I do not believe we will ever have true peace in the world the way it exists now. Unfortunately many people do not walk in love and many times they use religion to spread their message of hate.

I have many friends of many different religions. Some of my best friends do not believe the same way I do, but we treat the other in love and in so doing we learn to accept the whole person.

I have a picture in my house with the words of First Corinthians 13. My favorite part is this:
Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, Love never ends."

If I teach my children nothing else, I hope they leave my home with those words engraved upon their hearts.

Sorry if I wrote too much...I left a lot out!

Justin Johnson said...

Oh Christy - I could talk a long time about "The Spirit of Truth" - don't get me started...LOL! ;-)

Again, I have to say I agree with you on how love best manifests itself in the world. When we recognize the depth and breadth of God's love for us (and all of humanity), how can we not look at everyone with love?

It is absolutely a matter of obeying God's will - it is a commandment to love our fellow brothers and sisters. Anyone who uses religion as a way to hate their fellow man is "not of God" as one of the quotes in the original post says.

I do think we will eventually have Peace, but you are absolutely right, the world will look a lot different by then. There are currently too many people who have completely lost touch with their true spiritual essence.

Sadly, there are still a lot of growing pains that we are going to have to go through. It is even sadder to think that a lot of the people who are creating the hate and ugliness in the world profess strong beliefs in religions that teach the absolute opposite - love.

The Peddicord Post said...

Yes, I agree...many of the people with the most hate are hiding behind religion.

Recently a religious person knocked on my door and wanted me to pay for a "Watch Tower" magazine. When I politely said, "No thank you." She got pretty hateful and started telling me how she believed her religion was the only one that recognized the truth and she was truly sorry I could not accept the truth. I told her I needed to go and she left. As they were walking down my driveway they ceremoniously stomped their feet and dusted their shoes! Later a friend told me they were wiping my dust off their feet and turning me over to a reprobate mind! I can't believe people actually think like is sad.

Thank you for your comments.

smithjas28 said...

Yes, I agree with what is all being said and yes a lot comes to mind when I stop and think about the commandment " Love thy neighbour". I think alot of times before you can love your neighbour you have to love yourself and inorder to love yourself you have to understand and accept that God has created you the way you are, however, God gave us all potential to grow and improve ourselfes.
We are all borne into this world pure and holly and and our job here on Earth is to live our lives in a way that will allow us to leave pure and holly. The only way to do this is to follow and understand what God is telling us through the writeings of all the religions.
I feel that there are too many times that mankind fall victome to the curruptions and inpurities of the world we live in. We all do, even if it's something as simple as turning our car on and causeing pollution or watching violence on T.V.. It's almost impossable to be 100% pure and uncurrupted. However, I'm a firm believer in for every bad thing there are two good things. I feel that believing this can help me, personly, keep my strength to do the best I can to focus in on what I know is right like, loveing thy neighbor.
I think that love is more than just a word or something you just say. Love is more like energy that radiates frome one's soul. I feel that if mankind could learn to love and understand eachother everything else would fall into place and we wouldn't need as many chalenges and difficulties to teach us how to simply love.

Justin Johnson said...

Thanks Jeannette! I agree, Love is an extremely powerful concept and is way more than just a word! I love what you said in the last paragraph especially. A song title comes to mind - "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles. It fits perfectly into your post. Do you know that song? If not, you should look it up!

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