Christian Imagination Study – Love of God and neighbor

Matthew 22:34-40
Mark 12: 28-34
Luke 10:25-28

The passages in the gospels listed above quote the following in the Pentateuch:
Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Leviticus 19:11-18

Essentially, love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. We talked about a number of questions relating to the passage. How do we love God with all our heart? What does it mean to love? What about loving God with our mind? What’s it look like to love our neighbor? What’s it look like to love ourselves? What does love have to do with imagination?

We tend to associate heart with emotion and mind with intellect, and that works here. How often are we emotional when we serve God? I have some wonderful prayer times when I pray with emotion, yet, those times tend to be the exception. So often, emotion and intellect seems to be at odds, and people prefer one over the other. Yet, we are to love God with our our minds as well as heart.

The passage above says to love God with ALL our hearts, souls, and minds. ALL. Does that mean there is no love for anyone else? Well, Jesus said, If if you love me, keep my commandments. And his main commandments are to love God and our neighbor. So, part of loving God with ALL our hearts is loving our neighbor as ourselves. We can’t love God without loving our neighbor.

Sometimes in our efforts to be ‘good’ Christians and in an honest desire to love, we try to love people, and realize we are not as loving as we’d like to be, and maybe even lament our lack of love at times. A good question to ask during those times, one I have asked myself, is: Am I loving God with all my heart, with a related question: Do I believe God really loves me? When I’m not honestly loving God with all my heart, mind, and soul, I am not that good at loving my neighbor.

So, we have two commandments that are dependent on each other. You can’t love God without loving your neighbor and you can’t love your neighbor without loving God.