Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)
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.�
There were two religious groups during the time of Jesus, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Sadducees had already tried to trap Jesus with a question, but Jesus managed to silence them with His answer. The Pharisees aware of what happened with the Sadducees plotted a question of their own. They said, �Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?� and Jesus gave the reply above. It was a hard answer to argue with; for to love God meant loving all about God, including God�s other commandments. Then Jesus gave another statement putting it in the category of a commandment, �Love your neighbor as yourself.�
Terry Muck, in a March 29, 2009 entry of Men of Integrity wrote � [A man who had no interest in spiritual matters related casually to the Christian who lived next door�they talked over the back fence, borrowed lawn mowers, stuff like that. Then the non-Christian's wife was stricken with cancer, and she died three months later. Here's part of a letter he wrote afterward:
I was in total despair. I went through the funeral preparations and the service like I was in a trance. After the service I went to the path along the river and walked all night. But I didn't walk alone. My neighbor�afraid for me, I guess�stayed with me all night. He didn't speak; he didn't even walk beside me. He just followed me. When the sun finally came up over the river, he came over and said, "Let's go get some breakfast." I go to church now. My neighbor's church. A religion that can produce the kind of caring and love my neighbor showed me is something I want to find out more about. I want to love and be loved like that for the rest of my life.]
We would be much better served to stop trying to impose rules and regulations on people, such as the Pharisees and Sadducees did and focusing instead on being compassionate, generous, loving people who touch the lives of others just as Christ touched lives.