I like to evaluate my actions or behaviors through the lens of whether or not they are consistent with loving God and loving others.
I think I have a pretty good idea of what it means to love others. Loving others is difficult to do in practice. But I think most of us have at least an understanding of whether an action would be loving or not. Loving others involves putting another person’s needs ahead of your own. Loving others means treating people as you would like to be treated.
I was hanging out with a friend, and we started to talk about what it means to love God. It was more difficult to come up with a clear definition. We talked about things like spending time with God in prayer, expressing praise to God in worship, giving money to the church, and being obedient to what we thought God wanted us to do with our lives. But to be honest, it seemed a bit confusing to me.
Loving God by Loving Others
Then my friend said something that made a lot of sense to me. He said, “I think the best way we can show our love for God is by loving others.”
I think he’s right. Jesus draws this connection between loving God and loving others a lot in the Bible. For example, in Matthew, Jesus explicitly draws a parallel between the two.
The Greatest Commandment
Jesus replied, “’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).
A few chapters later, Jesus teaches that the way we show our love for God is by loving others here on Earth, especially the “least of these.”
The Least of These
Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:34-40).
I think the best way we can show our love for God is by loving others.
Discussion: How do you think we can best show our love for God? What do you think about the connection between loving God and loving others?