I am known to ruthlessly prioritize, which I take as a compliment! I know what matters most to me and I put it first. When I think about being a Christian, I think no differently. For example, if we look to the Bible and ruthlessly prioritize its directive to us, followers of Christ, what is at the top of the list is quite clear. In fact, this question is asked and answered point blank to Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 :
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 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.”
That’s pretty strong language, and it’s pretty hard to, you know, find a loop hole.
Loving God yourself in my mind consists of the personal, private study, prayer and communication with God. From my business training, I also know having a core mission statement such as this is essential to decision making. How would we all make decisions differently in our personal lives if we stopped and said, ‘Which option would I choose if I love God with all my heart, soul and mind?’ Again, pretty hard to find loop holes there.
It is the second of these commandments, though, that has been on my mind, more for what it doesn’t say. Namely, the commandment doesn’t say Love your neighbor, IF…. Uh-oh. It doesn’t say, Love your Neighbor IF they look the same as you do, Love your Neighbor IF they worship the same god you do, Love your Neighbor IF they don’t need something from you, Love your Neighbor IF they like the same music you do, Love your Neighbor IF they came to your country legally or Love your Neighbor IF they love/marry the people you think they should. As if to clearly encompass every possible IF out there, you don’t have to go many pages away in the same book to find this in Matthew 5:44 , “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” So I can’t even loophole to Love your Neighbor IF they love me back or IF they don’t hate me. So there it is, if I ruthlessly prioritize my Christianity, my task is to Love my Neighbor, all of them, always.
In 2017, my goal is to take this to action, I am going to explore how to act on this directive and also how to ruthlessly prioritize loving others and perhaps even more importantly instilling love for ALL others (no ifs, ands, or buts - what a great parenting line) in my children as they grow to become the next generation of Christians to take on this divisive world.