Mark 12:30-31 NIV
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The other day as I was walking my dogs, I got a test in the greatest commandment of all! We often hear Mark 12:30-31 proclaimed as the greatest commandment of all. It is even declared in the Bible that it is. The first part is easy. Love God. Loving Someone who gave His Son’s life to save us is pretty easy. After all, He loved us first and He loves us unconditionally. It’s a no-brainer.
But then there’s that pesky second part. Love your neighbor as yourself. First, we must accept Christ’s love, see ourselves as He does, then we love ourselves as Christ intended. Yet, the neighbor part is still there. Some neighbors are easy to love. I have one that waters my plants when I’m away and even calls if something seems suspicious. He’s great and easy to love. Yet, he’s not my only neighbor. I have many because I live in a townhome community. They are everywhere, hundreds of them, so I have many opportunities to show my love.
Back to the dog walk, my little boy dog is zealous. As his mom, I can tolerate him and love him despite the belief he has that he owns the entire common grounds on the property. I cannot get him to understand that not every tree and bush is his personal property. Most of my neighbors think a squeaking 5 pound Chihuahua is cute, especially when I pick him up and cover his mouth with him still trying to yap. It provides comic relief to the dog owners with large breeds, especially the ones with German Sheppards and such. They respect my dog’s passion, but not the lady in the middle unit. Oh no! She had a very different take on us! My dog started yapping and I immediately grabbed him to ease the tension as I always do. But she started yelling and swearing. She took the Lord’s name in vain and said a few words I hadn’t heard since I worked in the inner city with juvenile delinquents. At first, I was shocked and caught off guard since I live in a peaceful community. I had a choice to make right then. I could either get offended and lash out or realize this woman was really hurting and it had nothing to do with me or my dog. I chose to remain calm and remember Mark 12:31. Seeing her temperament, I knew I couldn’t just have a cup of coffee and chat with this lady. Instead I prayed, I asked the Lord to show me what to do to help her and He did. He instructed me to mail her a card, from Him not me. In the moment I could feel His pain when she took His name in vain. I felt her pain. I did as He asked. I handwrote a card describing the Lord’s pain that she was hurting and reassured her He was there and He loves her and will help her through these troubled times. I enclosed a teaching cd entitled “You are God’s Masterpiece” from my pastor and a invitation card to attend my church. Then as God requested I mailed it off. I do not know how this lady responded to my note. She may not have even opened it. But the point is, I followed God’s instructions. I did what He asked. He will do the rest. I use to get all wrapped up in wanting to know every little detail of God’s plan. But now, I see that’s not my place. God asked me to plant a seed for Him. He’ll take it from here. If He needs my help again, He’ll ask. It was hard to love the unlovable neighbor but I did by asking God to lead me. I have learned usually the ones who come across the most unlovable, need our love the most.
Have you loved your neighbor today? Imagine if we all did a little to show God’s love, what a big impact that could have in our neighborhoods!