There came a point in Jesus’ earthly ministry when he was asked which commandment was the greatest. His answer went like this:
“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.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. -Matthew 22:37-40
Unsurprisingly, the Apostle Paul, being a faithful witness to Jesus, echoed these very sentiments in his own teaching. Here, in Romans 13:8-10, he does just that by focusing on the second half of Jesus’ answer: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This important teaching, Paul says, sums up those parts of the Ten Commandments that focus on how we humans should treat one another. If we want to know what is required in any given situation, this is the key: love controls.
Though it’s not always easy to know what the loving course of action is, the bias toward love is nothing short of a revolutionary shift in our lives. Rather than focusing on our own rights and desires, we focus on the needs of others. Just imagine a group of people who actually put this love bias into action! Now, remember that you are part of a group called to do just that – the church. In the same way that Jesus loved us to the end, so are we also to love one another.
As you consider this call to love today, ask yourself this question: “Am I usually more concerned with my own rights and fulfillment or with how I can love the people around me?” Shifting our mindset to the second part of that equation makes all the difference. More than that, it ensures that we are fulfilling the will of God.