“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Mt. 22:36-39.
I wrote Monday about the need to strive for a Christ-centered life in which control of our entire life is turned over to Jesus. One critical area in which we can gauge the degree to which we have surrendered control of our life to God is in our relationships. This includes our relationships with our spouse, our family members, as well as our close friends.
In today’s verse, Jesus tells us that we are to love others as we love ourselves.
Jesus recognizes that each of us is inherently self-centered. He does not command us to love others more than we love ourselves; we are to love them in the same way we love ourselves.
And with rare exception, we love ourselves unconditionally.
But when we try to love those around us, we often want to attach conditions…such as they must also “like” me!
God loves regardless of whether that person loves Him.
We are to love others not out of duty, but in recognition of their worth and “lovability” based upon God’s love for them.
We are to love others because God loves them…not for what they can do for us. And this relational command applies to all our relationships outside of God.
The reality is that we cannot love others unconditionally without God helping us. In order to gain God’s assistance, we need to give control of that relationship over to Him.
So often when we are in relationship with another person, spouse, family member, or friend, we have an agenda within that relationship. We have something we desire from them. It may be that they love us in return. It may be something else they can do for us.
When we have an agenda within a relationship…we resort to manipulation.
We cannot love others unconditionally while at the same time we are trying to manipulate them.
Ask God to take control of your relationships so that He can love the other person through you.
Become a lover…as He is.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to love others unconditionally!