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Loving My Neighbor

From the desk of Francisco A. Peralta

Dear brothers and sisters, in this message my desire is to look at the second part of the great command discussed previously. In that message, we learned that God calls us to love him with our all because he has loved us with his all. Although we cannot reciprocate this God-like perfect love, we can be pointed in the right direction. Think direction, not progression. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he said to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Then he adds this part:

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

This great commandment is comprised of two parts: Part A which is to love God; and Part B which is to love others. The two parts make a whole, they are not to be separated, meaning that our love of God is seen in how we treat others. Consider:

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. I John 4: 20-21

I hope you got that. If we say we love God, we must love others. Our love for the unseen God is seen by how we love others. I think he is essentially calling us out saying something like “if you love me, prove it by loving others”. His love for us is not abstract, it is real. Those nails that held Jesus on the cross were real, not imaginary! So, he calls our love to be too. Not just something intellectual, something in thought and not action. If we say we have faith and love God, we must consider action.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2: 14-17

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