The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” vs. 9Romans 13:8-10
Most people have at least a vague sense of familiarity with the Ten Commandments. Occasionally we’ll hear about some new plan to have them engraved on monuments on courthouse lawns or posted on the wall of public school classrooms. There is a sense that they’re important, a summary of divine imperatives, rules that we should all live by. And most of us would agree. We spend an enormous amount of time in confirmation classes trying to drum them into the heads of our children, and we’re mostly unsuccessful. Very few people can actually say the Ten Commandments in their entirety. And that would be okay with Paul! In his estimation, as long as we’re loving our neighbors as ourselves, we’re doing just fine, for all of the “thou shalt nots” are included in the one “thou shalt love.” To put it another way, loving our neighbor as ourselves is the benchmark of life in Christ. The problem is that this is an enormously high standard! Obeying commandments is a lot easier than loving someone unconditionally. For one thing love draws us into a relationship with the other–we’re called to do something positive, rather than to not do something negative–and that can often be a challenge. But then again, Jesus never said it would be easy to follow in his way!
Thought for the Day: When is it hard for me to love?