For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 NRSV
In today's verse, when speaking about the law, Paul talks about the 613 laws in the Torah. The quote comes from Leviticus 19:18, but we commonly remember it as one of the Great Commandments of Jesus found in the synoptic gospels. Love God wholly and love your neighbor like yourself; it’s that simple. It becomes one law because in loving God wholly, we must love our neighbors.
What if we as a people would live by this today? Just think of the implications. We could do away with all of our criminal and civil laws, the thousands of statues, and our crowded court system would cease to exist. Injustice would no longer be an issue. Our for-profit prisons would be empty. That's just in one country; if expanded, it would eliminate the need for international laws, and conflicts and wars would cease. Can you imagine?
This is a picture of what God desires for us; peace and tranquility. It is possible. Granted, it is counter to all our human instincts of willfulness and selfishness. However, as true believers of God, we can make it happen. It will not be easy; we need to love ourselves as God's children and then share that same agape love with each neighbor, continually expanding our circle until they overlap into a big concentric circle.
Precious Lord, thank you for giving us a glimpse of what you desire for us and what is possible. We confess we have fallen short and acknowledge we cannot love our neighbors as we should without your help. Please help us today to love ourselves and our neighbors as you love us. May the actions we take from this day forward expand our circles of love outward to reach further and further until they overlap. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Peace and Love,