Despite all of the knowledge, ability to communicate, and history to look back upon, humanity acts quite naive to its current situations that impact social, occupational, relational, and spiritual functioning. The terms “never has happened before, first time, never in our history, and other phrases have increased in their frequency of usage to address many areas of social and occupational functioning in life. For many in the american Chirstian church, the go to solution when difficulties arise is to find a quote in scritpture and use this as an exclemation point to make a statement or end an agrument. This verse is typically or perferably found in the New Testaments and spoken by Jesus or referenced to be spoken by him or about him.
Throughout history conflict has come from the human condition. Arguments, disagreements, tension, and debate consistently effects relationships between many at some point in time. As problems arise solutions tend to find their way One of the consistent versus used against conflict between people has been Mathew 22: 35-40 or Mark 12:30-31.
Mathew 22:35-40 35And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)
To love others as this scriputre would indicate has everything to do with what God desires and little to do with what man intends. Using Jesus words to direct our actions, mentalitities, and relationships requiers us to understand the conversation that Jesus was in. Having an understanding of the lawyer, how Jesus was being tested by the religious leaders, Jesus position & purpose, scripture referenced by Christ, and the foundation of Gods relationship with his creation leads to a more robust implementation.
Unfortunatly, from the passage, we do not know the full intention of the lawyers question. (The context of the versus prior would suggest that the pressure the religious leaders were putting on Jesus may have had a hand in it.) A reductionistic type of question, such as the lawyer asked, seems more as a pigeon holing of a trap rather than for enlightenmetn and spiritual formation. The answere Jesus gives would sugest this) As in every response Jesus gives, he does not give into the testing and grounds the tempter in truth. The answer is grounding, Truthful, and sobering.
Jesus responds from a foundation of Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 6. The rooting of Jesus position is not some new mentality or methodology. Gods position never changes and Jesus teaching never is without the purpose of clarifying and reiterating what has been commanded in the past. Jesus is the fulfillment and the New Testament is built upon the old.
It might seem to some as Jesus answers the Lawyer with a new mentality. What does “love” have to do with it? Love in and of itsself does not guied us in our actions here. The way in which Jesus references love and the way in which Jesus answers his advoseries is why Christ simplifies his answer. Love is meaningless unless it is rooted a connection with God. Loving others is not a passive or weak position. It is an intentional thought and behavior pattern which is done as a result of faith and obediance. This faith and obediance is not related to the one being loved but is directed twords God. If we do not focus on God first our love for other is weak and most likley empty.
We are not to love others for just the sake of others. We love others as a response to the faithful presence we have with God.
Gods love for others does not get them into heaven or right relationship with God. Gods Love for someone sets the foundation for a person to enter into relationship with God, but it does require the individual to be aware, understand, and accept their positon before God. The Gospel (Good News) is focus on what God has done as a result of who God is. God does love the world but individuals continue to reject God. Gods Love for them does not fully save them. It is their Faith commitment, their acceptance of the gift that solidifies their position before God. God Loved his creation but continued to have expectations. Our love of others does not require us to lay down and let others have their way. “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” Leviticus 19:15.