The Most Valuable Like

How much is a “like” worth online?  That question would not have made any sense 15 years ago, but now you know what it means!  Google it: You’ll see various estimates, ranging from 21 cents per “like” to $214!  But the most valuable “like” is the one in the middle of this quote from Jesus:

“Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord 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.”” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Jesus had been asked for the greatest commandment in Scripture.  He responded with two (See: Keep it Simple).  He said the two commands were LIKE each other.  But He didn’t mean simply that they were similar.  He meant they corresponded to one another, that they were connected at the hip.  You can’t obey one without following the other and vice versa.  The two commands were really one, connected with the word, like.

Here’s how they work together: Jesus said that when we offer a simple kindness to someone in need – even a glass of water –  “… I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40b)   Your love for your neighbor is connected to and is an expression of your love for God, for Jesus.  That is how He receives it.  The first command is LIKE the second.

This connection flows in reverse as well.  Jesus taught us to pray,

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

And then He made the connection clear between our treatment of those who need forgiveness and God’s treatment of us:

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

Our love for The Father is connected to our love for our neighbor.  The two loves correspond to one another, they are like each other.  And, because our love for God is a dynamic relationship; it flows both ways, as we give and receive.  Because we love God, we give love to our neighbor and are able to receive love from God.  This interactive “dance” with God, lived out in relationship with the people in our lives, is how we keep this combined commandment.  It begins with an attitude of deep love and respect, not grudging obedience.

As we fully understand this word, LIKE, and grasp how it connects the two commands into one, it becomes the most powerful and valuable “like.”

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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