For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
A small church on the outskirts of the diocese was in distress. The priest reached out to the bishop for help, and the bishop agreed to meet with the church leadership. When the priest informed the leadership that the bishop would be visiting, one angry parishioner spoke up and said, “If the bishop is driving all the way here just to tell us that we should love one another, he can stay in his office. We don’t need to hear it!” We’ve probably all been to this church, at some point in our lives.
Jesus’ command to love our neighbours is so familiar that we say it almost unthinkingly. And yet, as familiar as it is, we constantly struggle to live it out. Sometimes, we’re guilty of ignoring the commandment entirely. But most of the time, we’re guilty of trying to edit it. We say, “Love everyone…except these people…” or “love only the neighbours who deserve it…” or “love the neighbor whose life I understand…”
Jesus commands us to love—nothing more and nothing less. May we take him at his word.
MOVING FORWARD: Who in your life is hard to love? Add that person to your prayer list, and ask God to soften your heart toward your neighbour.