So, my observation of the current religious talk in mainstream media and ‘progressive’ faith circles is that there are many people who resonate more with the “love your neighbor as yourself” part of Luke 10 and it’s second gospel instruction than the first- and more descriptive- command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind“.
I’m grateful to live in a particular culture that still promotes love and mercy as virtuous. That said, I’m siding with the authority of scripture that asserts that authentic and effective compassion rests only upon the bedrock of the God’s truth in His word. Jesus implores man to honor God first by obeying His Word and honoring His Son… above all else… even above our own opinions about what He should reasonably expect from us.
Luke 10:25-28 (ESV)
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he (Jesus) said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Admittedly, I fail often in the execution of loving others with God’s love. In fact, I’m only able to authentically love others because He first loved me. And as I respond in loving Him more and more, I can expect that, in turn, I’ll love others more and more.
So, if you need me, I’ll be spending more time here:
1 John 4:7-21 (ESV)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.