The Commandments to Love
Jesus often spoke about love. These two commandments are at the very core of his message. The first one encourages us to love God without reservation. It reveals a loving relationship between us and the Holy Spirit is both possible and desirable. If we ignore this commandment, we abandon our chance to enter God’s Kingdom (the Spiritual Universe).
The second commandment encourages us to love others with the same sensitivity and empathy we have for ourselves. It assumes we are able to take a thoughtful view of our interpersonal relationships. People with a healthy outlook on life will not choose to hurt themselves either physically or emotionally. We are expected to project this same caring attitude in our personal relations with others. It does not matter whether our contact is casual and brief (as with a stranger we meet on the street), or the result of a long term relationship (marriage), God wants us to love others as we would want others to love us. Our failure to obey this commandment is often the source of inexcusable sorrow, friction and hatred.
The more we try to follow these two commandments, the closer we come to creating God’s Kingdom on Earth, which is paradise. The further away we move from these two commandments, the greater the risk of creating a personal and social hell here on earth. From the New Testament:
- The Pharisees gathered together to question Jesus. One of them, an expert in the Law of Moses, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus earnestly replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like the first: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the words of the Prophets center on these two commandments."
Jesus suffered the pain of revulsion whenever he witnessed brutal confrontation. All too often, brief encounters of even inconsequential disagreement led to fights that resulted in injury or death. His counsel to “turn the other cheek” was a way to avoid the escalation of a minor incident into a bloody confrontation. He believed it is better to love, than to hate.
Should we follow his example?