Wisdom Wednesday

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” 

Mark 12:28–31

Central to the ethics and morality of the Bible are the commandments of love God and love neighbour. To love God is to think, feel and act as He does. It is to bring Him pleasure and joy as our Heavenly Father. It is to seek His best. To love our neighbour is to seek their good. Good, in the overarching Biblical sense, as God defines it and in such a way that takes into account corporate as well as individual good.

Now, that’s all a bit dense, let’s use an ethical scenario from today to show how this works with all the complexity these simple commandments bring. What should a Christian who wants to love God and love their neighbours do when they are invited to a same-sex wedding.
The Bible and therefore God is very clear in His stance. Marriage is between a man and a woman. To love God is to think, feel and act like He does.

But what about love of neighbour? For many Christians the desire to maintain relationships (often very deep ones) in the hope of winning their friend or family member to the love of God is at the heart of a decision to attend the same-sex wedding and is that not love?
And does not God also want people to know Him and find His love? Therefore could we not say that it is loving God as well by honouring His compassion and desire to see the lost saved? But against this, another Christian might say, isn’t it actually more loving to our neighbour to stand up for the truth and show them how serious we are about it?

I think this (often live) scenario is a helpful one. Sometimes, the answer can be both! I think there is space for the Christian who says, I will not attend the wedding because I love God and love my neighbour just as there is space for the Christian who says the opposite for the same reason!

The question is - is it love of God and love of neighbour that is driving your decision? In this situation and every other?

For Today:
  • Is the love of God and the love of neighbour what drives your decision making?
  • What is a situation when have felt torn between these two commands?
  • What do you do when you feel conflicted in complicated decisions?
Pray: Praise the Father that He is good and wise. Give thanks for Jesus Christ who loved the Father and people perfectly. Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you and others love God and love people in all wisdom.
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