One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall 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, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
Acclaimed author Elizabeth Bourgeret once said: “Love begets love. If you show it, you will feel it. If you give it, you will receive it.” And although there are exceptions to this rule as with any other, this principle generally holds true. When you give love, you receive it. And the converse is true as well. The more you receive love, the more you give it.
Now, human love is limited. But God’s love isn’t. And when we are faced with limitless, infinite love then our response should also be without limit, no? Therefore, when our Lord Jesus says that we should love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, then it isn’t as absurd a command as some of us might have imagined. Because if love begets love, then great love begets great love.
So, if great love DOESN”T beget great love, then what is wrong? Three things. One, we haven’t quite comprehended the greatness of God’s love, possibly because we haven’t experienced it. Two, if we have comprehended it, we have started taking it for granted, which is a common enough occurrence in all relationships. Three, our own hearts are crowded with other affections, be it for people or for things.
How do we rectify these issues? If we want to understand how greatly God loves us watch Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and just think of how much love it took Jesus to go through all that pain. If that doesn’t give us a sense of the greatness of God’s love, then nothing will. If we want to stop taking his love for granted, spending a few minutes looking at Jesus hanging on the cross, and fading him out and fading us in should help. We sometimes forget that’s where we belong; not him.
And, finally, if our hearts are too congested, we just need to introspect. In these days, where everything is collapsing around us, we can hopefully start getting proper perspective on what is really important, and what isn’t. And the only thing that is really important — and unchanging — is our Lord Jesus. So let us declutter our lives and fill it with our Lord until he saturates our very being. And we will be at peace in the midst of all the turmoil around us.
As he once said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).