‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ”Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’ (vv 30–31) Mark 12:28–31

My only childhood experience of church was attending Remembrance Sunday with my dad as he recalled fallen comrades. Jesus is clear; failure to love neighbours is to fail to love God. We can present a host of reasons why this is impossible, but Jesus tells us we must love even our enemies (Matt. 5:44).

Whilst we might avoid and speak ill of others, we know people get under our skin. Our wellbeing is best served in preventing thoughts stirred by our disappointment in others from determining our attitude, and subsequently our view of life, and our place in it.

We live in an age wracked with insecurity. We crowd together around certain ‘norms’ that society advances as evidence of ‘the good life’. 

However, returning to the pages of Scripture we observe how the disciples lived. Jesus was always precise in His teaching (Matt. 18:1–10). We are to ask ourselves why we are reacting, rather than level blame at others.

We cannot determine how others live their life, yet we exercise complete control, by God’s grace, over how we order our own. My father opened my eyes to the value of treating others well.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Lev. 19:11–19; Deut. 10:17–22; Matt. 7:7–14; 1 John 4:16–21.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Loving others is a significant challenge. Love is neither avoidance nor rejection. Love is always a sober assessment of my own reactions and subsequent actions. Can I learn neighbour-love by God’s grace?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, love never fails. Help me to build a love that is robust and resilient, a love that reflects the love You have for me. Amen.’ (see 1 Cor. 13:4–13)

Photo by Jim Filim from depositphotos

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.