The First and Greatest Commandment

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Boy, this has been a year! And we’re not even halfway through it. Like all of you, I have been forced to realize I have WAY less control over my life than I once thought. And as a white woman, I am turning inward again and assessing the harsh truth that there are many people who don’t share what I have taken for granted my whole life. This inward analysis is a start, but it, by no means, is the end of my role.

Matthew 22:36-40
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

During the weekend service, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder and his wife, Lauren, had a conversation about racism with the lead pastor of The Tabernacle in Toledo, Dr. Calvin Sweeney, and his wife, Christine. Ben and Lauren asked the question, “What does love require of me?” Calvin and Christine gave us some places to start:

  • Look for opportunities to connect with people who don’t look like you.
  • Listen to understand, not just respond.
  • Learn about racial injustices.
  • Leave behind false narratives.
  • Come with a posture of humility.

Galatians 6:2
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Jesus carried our burden of sin, even though we can do nothing to return the favor. He is the perfect model of love, and part of loving others is to carry each other’s burdens. The weekend message closed with a song called “Let Love Lead” by Terrain. Take a look at the lyrics.

“Let Love Lead” by Terrain

If we are in Christ
There’s no black or white
There’s no left or right
God give us your eyes
Help us to erase
The bitterness and hate
So there is only love

We have seen how wicked our ways are without God at the center of our lives. We tend to create reasons to divide instead of looking for ways to unite. The only way to help and genuinely change is to invite God in, allowing him to reveal to our hearts the prejudices that we may not even be aware of. Only he can erase them and put his love in their place. Don’t take a backseat role in this one, friends. If you find yourself unaffected by what is happening, recognize it as the privilege it is. Those who don’t share it aren’t able to set this problem on the back burner.

Questions:
When it comes to showing love to others, you can live it out today. You can live it out in your neighborhood and in your daily life. Where do you have an opportunity to love others who don’t look like you?

Next Steps:
Take a moment and listen to “Let Love Lead.” Really listen to the lyrics, and invite God to examine your heart.

Prayer:
God, please reveal to me the prejudices I have. Take them away. I pray that you put your love in their place. Please help me to understand what people who don’t look like me are going through. Help me to listen to their hurts and empathize with their struggles. God, I pray that I can love others like you do. And help me to do so from a humble stance. Unite us, God. We need you so badly. Amen.


This post was written by Ashlee Grosjean. Ashlee is a blogger at GratefulSheep.com and a stay-at-home mom and wife. She loves writing for this team, and she hopes to help convey God’s message through this study.


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1 reply
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    Ashlee, thank you so much for your prayer here. I am a white woman from small white communities all my life. I can empathize, but don’t really know what people who aren’t me have been through. I think we all have our own troubling experiences to share. Mutual respect for each others hardships? I just know that Jesus love is the answer.

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