“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Might as well label these as commandments 11 and 12 because they, like the others, are
goals for which to strive and not reasonable for success, even in the most serious
Christians. I cannot speak for you, but I always let my daily activities, goals, businesses
and pride get in the way of loving God as I have been commanded. It's not that I don't
value that command, not that I would not like to achieve that command, it's just
something that can always be improved upon.
The later command, loving others as Jesus loved, to your neighbor as yourself, is
also a matter of effort..maybe even more so. What about looking out for number one?
What about getting back at those who mistreat us or disappoint us? Revenge? Eye
for an eye? You know.
Perhaps an off-shoot of this consideration is the problem that can come from having
unreasonable expectations of others. This, also, can lead to difficulty not only loving
them, but just getting along with them. Let's face it, people, yes Christians, too, often
don't live up to our expectations. They aren't moral enough, aren't caring enough,
aren't compassionate enough, aren't fair enough... there are a lot of enoughs!
When we expect others to live up to expectations that we, often, cannot achieve
ourselves, it can lead to avoidance, conflict and irritation.
When it comes to other Christians letting us down, that's a toughie! How can
someone who claims to be Christians, in Christ, behave that way? Not only is it
an issue of letting us down, their behavior does not reflect well upon what it
means to love Jesus, to act like Jesus. We are models of Christ, reflections of His
will and character; yet, we often see ourselves and other Christians fall short.
So, it is important, I believe, to be realistic in our expectations of all the people
with whom we interact. Wish for the best, but expect non-perfection. Hope to
help weakness, don't become irate or isolate from others. That isolation takes
one out of the very real job of seeking the kingdom for others. Seek to react
in love and compassion. Easy, no way. Important, WAY!
Praise our God! He is worthy!