I love Jesus’ answer about the most important commandment…
Matthew 22:34-40 The Greatest Commandment
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘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.”
Reconciliation always is 3-fold.
You have to love your neighbor. You have to notice people. Jesus saw people. He asked the woman who touched his robe and was instantly healed (before retreating back into the crowd: “Who touched me?” He noticed power leave his body.
How about the little short man up the tree — Zaccheaus. “You, up the tree. Come on down. Let’s have lunch. Presumably Jesus was looking around, watching people.
Or the tax collector. Or the man with leprosy. Or the poor woman who put into the temple offering everything she had. Jesus watched people. He noticed.
Do you have enough presence of mind in your day to notice people? Who are you noticing?
You also have to love yourself, too. That’s right. Don’t you like to interact with people with lots of self-confidence, lots of self-assurance? I sure do. Acting that way is not easy for lots of people, especially pastors and church leaders, the group I minister to the most. One the outside, maybe. But internally, no sir. And yes, the more I do this work the more vital I see that it is for Christ followers to listen to their own inner voices and to take the time for renewal and self-care that is so important. The ability to accept and care for yourself, coupled with practices of self-reflection, really nurture our ability to show compassionate to others. It’s very tough to love others if you think of yourself as a sad, pitiful person.
It’s really worth asking the Lord, “Jesus, show me how to more fully love myself, the person you created me to be.”
And yes, love God with all your heart. Of course. Your Creator loves you; and He want you to love Him in return. And how did Jesus do that? When you read the Gospels you can tell that Jesus campus alongside human suffering. He befriended people. He broke bread with the untouchables of the day. He was present with His Father early in the morning in prayer and he was present with people throughout his days.
So be present — to God, to yourself, to others. It takes practice, wisdom and grit. But keep at it. You are worth it!