Loving God and Neighbor Too

An essential belief that Jews and Christians share is the centrality of love for God and neighbor.

In the Torah, we read God’s word given through the Prophet Moses:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”   (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

And again from Moses we hear God’s voice:

“You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”  (Leviticus 19:18)

In the Gospels, Jesus reaffirms the centrality of these teachings/Law:

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying. Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said to him, ‘

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it:

‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  (Matt. 22:35-40)

Maximos the Confessor (d. 662AD) says:

“If you love God, you will certainly start to love your neighbors too.

You will find you are unable to hoard your money any longer

but will want to distribute it in a godly way, being generous to all who are in need.”

(The Book of Mystical Chapters: Meditations on the Soul’s Ascent from the Desert Fathers and Other Early Christian Contemplatives, pg. 51)

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2 Responses to Loving God and Neighbor Too

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