Remember what the second greatest commandment was? Jesus tells us in both Matthew 22:39 and Mark 12:31: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (The greatest commandment, of course, is to love Jehovah with all your heart and soul.) In this post, we will briefly discuss various ways you can fulfill the second most important commandment that we as Christians are to follow, showing to others the same love that Jehovah God has shown us – and we will talk about why this is so important.
No amount of love is off limits. We know this because of the example Jesus has provided us by dying for the sins of all humankind. Indeed, Jesus does say that there is no greater love than that “someone should surrender his life in behalf of his friends.” (John 15:13). That is our ceiling and, while most of us will not lay down our lives for others, there are still many acts of love that follow other examples set by our Redeemer.
|Disaster relief work in 2008 after Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar.|
No amount of technological advancement has rendered these words of Jesus obsolete. Despite all the developments over the past 2,000 years and today’s abundance in wealth, there are still those who don’t have a change of clothes, or any clothes at all. There are still those who cannot enjoy three meals a day, if even one. Jehovah's Word is quite clear on this matter: share with those who need it. Your contributions to the worldwide work are used in many ways, including helping those in need.
|Showing love in practical ways doesn't require money.|
“Give to the one asking you, and do not turn away from one who wants to borrow from you.” – Matthew 5:42
Pray for Your Enemies
“However, I say to you: ‘Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good and makes it rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.’” – Matthew 5:44, 45
This can be a difficult one for us to accept. Anyone can love his or her friends. That's easy. However, we human beings are not programmed to love those who hate us, to do right by those who wrong us. But, Jehovah God, in His perfection, created us all and gave his only son who died for us all. Following his example, as well as his explicit instruction, we must strive to be better than what we are – to do the “extraordinary” as Jesus goes on to say in verse 47 – and love everyone indiscriminately. Praying for the people that have wronged you may (or may not) change them, but it will always change you!
The Importance of Love
The Bible provides no shortage of verses encouraging – and commanding – us to love. Here are a couple more beautiful verses we’ve selected to illustrate the point:
"I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples – if you have love among yourselves.” – John 13:34, 35
"Go on carrying the burdens of one another, and in this way you will fulfill the law of the Christ." – Galatians 6:2
In addition to the verses listed in this post, consider 2 Timothy Chapter 3, where Paul talks about the last days. Here, he says that toward the end of this system, most people will not love one another, but only themselves. He says that they will not have affection for fellow human beings but care only for money. If you read the first few verses of that chapter, you will find yourself in a world that greatly resembles that of today. It is of the utmost importance to us as Jehovah’s Witnesses to avoid falling into the category of people described by Paul here. Lastly, we will leave you with this wonderful and inspiring verse:
"Let us continue loving one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God." – 1 John 4:7
What are some more specific ways we can show love to those around us? Please let us know in the comments below!