Mark 12:31 ESV says:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
For this February month that focuses so much on love, these words are strong.
In Mark 12 it states that there is no greater commandment, that must mean, this is not a discussion. It’s a commandment! Love your neighbor as yourself is only possible because you yourself experience being loved by God.
When a person loves himself, it means they are receiving love. You must receive the love of God and believe in it to be able to give love.
Thomas Merton says, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business, and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.” God doesn’t love us because we are worthy, he loves us just as we are to love our neighbor, worthy or not.
The movement of God to love our neighbor as we love ourselves is part of the “current” of life. The “current” of life shows up in phileo (brotherly love), eros (sexual love), storge (familial love), and agape (sacrificial, unconditional love). A current has many parts and is always moving and changing. The “current” of our many parts brings movement towards God’s loving us and as we experience his love, we can love others.
How are you receiving God’s love so that you can give it away? How are you experiencing the current of love today? Is it roaring like white water? Does it feel weak within you or perhaps steadily carrying you along? If God’s love is like a current, can you give yourself to it, and trust it will continue to carry you along?
Rich Plass says, “When we trust this current of love is really at work within us, we can take some risks. It will be okay. Step out, step up, step toward, don’t simply retreat, acquiesce, or stubbornly resist. God is working, keeping in step with the Spirit.”