Hat tip to Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog for this little “food for thought” nugget.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” This injunction is mentioned once in the Old Testament (Lev. 19:18) and seven times in the New Testament (Matt. 19:19, 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8) It is the core Christian ethic for relating to others.
The thing about these New Testament references is that love for others is intrinsically related to love for God. In fact, Jesus can’t seem to separate the two, at least not in the way we sometimes would like. It seems there is no place in the Gospel of Jesus for a love for God that does not manifest itself in love for neighbor.
I read a Dorothy Day quote in Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace? that has always stuck with me. She said, “You really only love God as much as you love the person you love the least.” I hope that isn’t true.
But I think it might be.
Love your neighbor.