In response to the Pharisees’ question about the most important commandment, Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40 that the Great Commandment is, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” The first four commandments in Exodus 20, speak about our loving and obeying God and thus can be combined into this one statement by Christ. Jesus goes on to say, “and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus combines the last six commandments and they are able to be translated into this phrase.
God has been teaching me a lesson lately. Let me explain. I am an only child. When I was a child, my classmates said that because I was an only child that I was spoiled and selfish. My dad was a policeman and probably didn’t earn more than $20,000 a year. He even worked side jobs to make extra money. My mom was a secretary, working about 4 hours a day at a family-owned laundry. We didn’t have a lot of money, especially during the recession of the 70’s. I didn’t have a lot of stuff, but my needs were always met. I was well loved. We had a great time together, and as a matter of fact, we still do.
Saying that I’m not spoiled is still true, but I have a “me” problem and this brings me back to this lesson that God has been teaching me about how to love my neighbor. I am an impatient driver. I get easily frustrated by other people’s driving; people who don’t plan ahead to turn, who drive too aggressively, too closely, or who are rude. You get the idea. I get mad, frustrated, irked at their offense against me.
God has been showing me as I drive, that those offenses aren’t about me. They are about someone who is thinking about themselves and doesn’t love their neighbor, and when I act that way, I do not love my neighbor and I’m not being obedient to God’s word. If I allow someone into my lane at the last minute without getting all offended then I love my neighbor. If they move into that lane and don’t give me “the wave” of thanks, it’s not about me. How can I expect to love my neighbor and then get offended if they don’t thank me? What then was my motivation for the kindness? For me to get thanks? Then I do not love my neighbor and it’s me being selfish.
That’s not the person I want to be. I’ve found that I want to be the face of Jesus on earth. Not only that, but I want to be His hands and feet. I want someone to be able to look at me and know that I am a Christian. Not the church-y kind or the religious kind, but I want others to see that I am a Christian that has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and that I live out my Christian walk on a daily basis. I don’t want people to look at me and see a hypocrite.
I know I’m not perfect.I am F-A-R from it. But, I don’t want to settle for being the person I am today.I want to strive to be better; a better person and a better Christian.I’m running a race.Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (NLT).I want to strip off those things that weigh me down unnecessarily.I want to endure.I want to grow.I know how THE story ends; know what’s coming up.I want to share that with my friends.Heck, I want to share it with strangers.Why should I be the only one that gets to have a beautiful ending?If I felt any other way, that would not show love to my neighbor, would it? If I do something out of love and don’t get a response, then I’m not disappointed. But, if I do something and get a response, I’m blessed in return.