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Is There Anything Else That Matters Beyond Loving God And Loving Neighbor?

Christians have been fragmented in their beliefs for over 2,000 years. Take almost any subject, and we’ll argue–even fight–about it. It’s possible that I have raised a few subjects in this blog that involve fightin’ words.

Take baptism, for example. Baptism by water or the Holy Spirt or both? If baptism by water, is it by immersion, sprinkling, or pouring. One or all are okay? And that’s just one subject.

I recently read a passage of scripture that we’ve all read many, many times. For the first time, it struck me in a different way. I not only said that this is really important, but I also wondered whether this is so important that nothing else is worth arguing about.

In Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV), Jesus said: “Love 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.”

Similarly, in Mark 12:28-31, Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5-9 and said: “The most important [commandment] is this…’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.” (See also Luke 10:25-28.)

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. There is no commandment greater than these.

If we love God and our neighbor, do we really need to worry about anything else? I know Holy Scripture says a lot of other things, but Jesus said that everything depends on two commandments–that there is no commandment greater than these two. And I dare say that no Christian would argue with what Jesus said about these two commandments.

When we fight over other things stated in Holy Scripture, aren’t we saying that unless you agree with me on these other things, you don’t really love God or your neighbor? If we are, that’s scary. Because Jesus said that the commandments about loving God and loving neighbor eclipse everything else.

Think about it. Think about it a long time. Then we can get back to arguing.

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