In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus is asked which is the greatest of the commandments. He answers in 2 parts: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Focusing on the second part, in order to love your neighbor, we must first understand who our neighbor is. Our neighbor is not just those who are close to us or like us. Jesus used the story of the Good Samaritan to teach us who He means when He says neighbor. In short, it is anyone that we encounter. It’s not an easy command. We often find it difficult to love those who live and think differently than us.
We must be intentional. We must act with compassion. Compassion compels us to do something. We all have flaws and we all want people to love us despite our flaws but are we willing to do the same…..to love others despite their mistakes and bad choices? John 13:35 tells us that the way others will know we are His disciples is by our love for one another. Love is not a feeling but an action. We must show the love of God to those around us. It is a commandment for believers.