Love. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear that? Valentines day? Your spouse? Children? Best friend? Hobbies?
For me personally, the first thing that pops into my mind is my family and friends. There’s nothing in the world that I wouldn’t do for them, and that’s what love is all about, right? Loving those that we have close connections with? Sometimes, even loving them when the love is not reciprocated back?
When we look at whom we should love from a biblical stance, I think Jesus makes it pretty clear. In Matthew 22, verses 37-40, Jesus states “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
First off, we should love GOD! While this seems too obvious, a lot of times, we take for granted the love He has for us and fall into the trap of thinking we are already showing our love for Him enough. What are the ways that Jesus says we will show our love for Him? Jesus explicitly states, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). A lot of us would simply just take this as, “Alright, I haven’t been cheating, lying, murdering, I’m doing great at keeping His commandments!” However, now connect this verse back to the verse in Matthew 22, we will first show our love for God by loving all people!
Does this simply mean just loving those that are close to us such as our family and friends or those that we deem as “good people”? Of course not! God wants us to explicitly spread the love we know He has for us to others, regardless of who they are! This love will then make way to spread the good news of the Gospel! When was the last time you can honestly say you’ve expressed love to someone, knowing it wouldn’t benefit you? This is such a hard thing for us to do, because as humans, we tend to be so inwardly focused. God’s love in us will do no good to others unless it is expressed! Imagine the difference you could make in someone else’s life if you conveyed the genuine love of God to them! You could help change their eternity! Let it be our goal as Christians to be the most loving humans out there, “to both the Jew and the Gentile”!