THE TWO GREATEST COMMANDMENTS

So there’s this saying that has been going around lately, that I have noticed anyways, and it’s really started to bug me. So for this post I would like to share this thing and also share why it bothers me so much.

As I scroll through the different social media feeds and read different discussions I’ve noticed that whenever there is a disagreement on a topic a common statement that gets thrown out there is that the most important thing is that we show love. Many times it is in reference to one of the many topics that is being questioned by our western culture, that the Bible teaches is wrong. The statement is made to imply that we should be more accepting of sinful actions in the name of loving the person who is doing such actions. Of course they are quoting a very famous statement made by Jesus Christ, here it is;

 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again.  One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question:  “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e]  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[f] The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.””(Matthew 22:34-40 NLT)(emphasis added)

This is the verse that is eluded to numerous times in discussions by people, who are trying to stomp out any sort of dialogue that consists of disagreement, or that might be taken by the people in question negatively. We have gotten so lazy in our thinking in the West, that we don’t even want to have rational arguments about important issues because we are sick and tired of the friction it causes. The number one goal now in the West is to save everyone’s feelings, at whatever cost, even the cost of rational and sound judgement.   One of the main points that people are often trying to make when they quote Jesus in this way, is that, we should focus on just those two commandments and not be so focused on any of the others. Or in other words, Jesus isn’t calling us to argue with people about right and wrong, rather Jesus is calling us to be loving to all people. Now I totally agree that we should love all people, and that we should treat everyone with equal respect. The problem is that the definition of love in this passage is not “accept sinful behaviours”. If in order to be loving, we as Christians have to accept sinful behaviours and cannot disagree with actions of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, then Jesus did not adhere to his own teachings. Jesus offended many people in his ministry,  the theme of his message was offensive to many, Matthew 4:17. Jesus also made a whip of cords and drove a crowd of people out of the temple like a herd of cattle. If Jesus lived a perfect life, and if Jesus is the best example of how we should live our lives, then “not offending people” cannot be a requirement for loving someone.

I also want to point out that this passage does not say what many people are trying to imply that it is saying. Jesus quotes the two most important commandments but then, goes on to say that the entire law and prophets are BASED on these two commandments. In no way is Jesus replacing the law or the prophets. Jesus is not saying don’t worry about trying to obey any of the other commandments, you can forget about them and just focus on these two. What Jesus is saying here is that if you follow those two commandments, you will naturally follow the others as well.  While God knows we will make mistakes, and that we will never be able to live perfect lives, He still calls us to pursue lives of holy living. While Jesus taught that we should love others no matter what, He also taught that we should hate sin and avoid it at all costs because it can cost us our eternity if we don’t. It also can cost us a whole lot of grief in this life such as; broken marriages, broken families, a life of oppression and hopelessness.

So what am I getting with all this? I want to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to stop using God’s call for us to be loving, as an excuse for us to be accepting of sinful behaviour. We don’t have to hold non-Christians to the standard that God is calling His children to. But we also shouldn’t be trying to justify the sinful actions either. Speaking truth in love is the most important thing when it comes to talking about sin. Truth and love are inseparable,we can’t be loving and lie to someone.  We can’t love God and yet condone the things He clearly hates. “ All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.“(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT) “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.“(2 Timothy 4:2-4 NLT). One of the purposes of scripture is to tell us what is wrong in our lives, or what is unacceptable. We are to preach Gods word in regards to right and wrong whether it offends people or not. Our motives should always be love, and to be loving we must be truthful. 

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