January 31, 2021

The Second Greatest Commandment

Mark 12:28-31

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

—  Mark 12:31

This month we have been challenged to follow Jesus and see how this changes us and gives meaning to our lives. And we have made lots of discoveries while Mark has been laying the groundwork for living our new life in Christ.

The call to love our neighbor is not complicated, but it can be challenging to follow. It means more than being hospitable, tolerant, patient, and kind. It means more than showing respect and honoring others. It also means more than just being civil with people you disagree with—even though it also means all of that.

Loving our neighbor implies that the well-being of others matters—so we should work for justice, protection, and opportunities for others to thrive. It means listening to others, caring about the environment and health care, and taking apart institutionalized oppression that limits the opportunities of others. It also shows that the possibilities for showing love and care for our neighbors is endless and could leave us overwhelmed by all the needs for neighborly love!

Yet all of us can love our neighbors in the name of Jesus Christ. We can love them enough to show how the love of Jesus is shaping us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

As you are loved, Jesus says, so love one another (see John 13:34).

Thank you, Lord, for loving me so completely that I am being completely changed! Help me to love my neighbor with the love you have for the world. Amen.

About the author — Douglas MacLeod

Rev. Douglas MacLeod is a church pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has served as a pastor for over 36 years with five congregations in Michigan and Iowa. He and Cathy, his wife of 40+ years, are grateful for their three children and four grandchildren.

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