“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
Love is the beginning and the end of our righteous relationship with God — and everything in the middle. Love pushes us. It moves us. It defines us. Love is what Scripture says binds everything we do together in perfect unity. We must place unconditional, God-ordained love in the supreme position of our hearts and minds and in our churches.
God’s love for us depends completely upon his character, not ours. Everyone stands before our God equally. No human being can ever do anything to earn God’s love. The fact that we are sinners is woefully inescapable. The fact that God still loves us anyway is amazingly wonderful. And we respond to that matchless grace and undeniable love by loving him back and by loving all people the way he does.
And that doesn’t mean surface relationships. It doesn’t mean love at arm’s length. It doesn’t mean love all people, OK, but don’t get too involved in their lives. It does mean imitating God’s gutsy love, his all-in love, a love so full and so complete that it compelled Christ to suffer and die to show us.
May we be a people who receive one another as Christ receives us, who forgive others as we’ve been forgiven by God, and who love God and others as fearlessly and unconditionally as he loves us.