I break one of God’s greatest commandments all the time. And so do you. For me, it often happens in traffic. Something unique boils up inside of me when a car almost stops completely to make a right turn.
In such situations I can’t help but fantasize about jumping out of my truck (while it’s still rolling), putting my size 8 boot through their rear bumper, and emphatically rattling off some of my best construction-worker words.
Maybe you can relate. If so, you know that acting in the heat of a moment is never a good idea. And, treating others with such contempt and disdain is universally considered unacceptable.
But why? Why is it that we all seem to share certain moral standards? Why do we have laws that prohibit things like murder, rape, and theft? In other words, why is it widely considered right to treat others with respect, kindness, and dignity?
Some argue that morality is simply self-evident – a naturally occurring consequence of evolution. But what about love? Why do we humans have an inherent ability and desire to love one another?
As Christians, we believe that there are creations, all having one Creator; and we make a clear distinction between the two. There is God, and then there is everything else. And as Creator, God graciously chose to make us in His image, with the ability to decipher right from wrong. To best understand this, we must know and accept two truths.
First, it is important to realize that all of us, Christians and unbelievers alike, know God. This is not to say that everyone has an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ; but, rather, that He has revealed His glory and righteousness to all people.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Rom. 1:20 NLT).
The second truth that we must understand is that all good things come from the Lord. James 1:17 says, “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.” God is the author of all that is right and true and just.
Whenever we witness or experience something good, without hesitation it can be traced back to Him. Wherever there is light, you can be sure that God dwells there; because there is no darkness in Him, nor from Him. Wherever there is love, genuine and unabridged, you can be certain that it flows from our Heavenly Father.
So, we have established that God is known, and God is good. We submit to these truths, whether we accept them or not, every time we choose to do what is right. A non-Christian chooses to suppress God’s truth, and to live in rejection of His standards. For this person, loving others is simply a good idea.
For believers, on the other hand, it is a requirement. Jesus tells us, “‘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 neighbour as yourself'” (Matt. 22:37-39).
Did you see that? Commandment. A commandment that you and I consistently disobey. It’s easy to love people that we effortlessly connect with; however, it’s significantly more complicated to love someone who is difficult, calloused, or just down right mean (or a terrible driver). But there’s good news.
We have help.
The Holy Spirit empowers us to love with a depth and intensity that is unattainable apart from Him. So take heart, because it is all about Jesus. When the strength of His mercy meets the freedom of His grace, love abounds.