It is important for us, as Christians, to honestly think about how well we have done following Jesus’ simple two commandments. If it really was that easy to follow the two commandments, then the entire world would be following them right now, which we are not. If we are to answer honestly, we probably would admit to being a little, or maybe a lot, afraid to truly follow them. Think about it, loving, in the way that Jesus is commanding us, commits us fully to God. Loving God so fully, means trusting God fully. And some of us will find that scary for a number of reasons.
We might be afraid of loving God, because it could mean we will become some sort of overzealous “Jesus Freaks”, which is of course very un-Anglican. Or we are afraid that we will lose our (false) sense of control in our life and that makes us feel vulnerable (which we are anyway). In fact there is nothing to lose, but something to gain. Loving God, makes God our rock and our stronghold. Life will still have its hardships and trials, but we will face them from the shelter and protection of God’s grace.
The second commandment, Loving our neighbour as much as we love ourselves, fully commits us to regarding others to be as important as we are. Loving your neighbour means going out of our way to help, treating them we respect, and acting with justice in our dealings with them. Acting toward them in the way we would wish to be treated. Yes, there will be those that take advantage of us, but most will not. Loving our neighbour will also build around us a trusting community of people who want to live that way too. Those that would take advantage will soon correct themselves or leave.
Following God is not easy, and hidden in the simplicity of Jesus’ two woven commandments, is the challenge of love. The challenge it the same for us today as it was for those that heard Jesus say the words 2000 years ago, He wants us to fight against our fears that keep us from God and from being in relationship with each other. God calls us to respond with love.
“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19