“The most important of all the instructions is, ‘Hear O Israel – the LORD our God is our only Lord – and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ – this is the most important instruction." (Mark 12:29-30)
How is the "second like it"?Jesus is clearly stating that loving others is inseparable from loving God. Being "like it" means that loving others is part and parcel of loving the Supreme Being. The two are inseparable.
What if, for example, you had a great friend that you loved dearly. And that friend had a baby. Would you scorn the baby if you loved your friend? Certainly not. Your friend's baby would be the recipient of the extension of your love for your friend.
In this way, your love for your friend's baby would be an extension of your love for your friend. They become inseparable.
We are each members of God's familyThis is also about family. Being in the same family. We are each members of God's family.
Jesus is attesting that loving others is related to loving the Supreme Being. How so? Because each of us is related to the Supreme Being. We are each children of God. We are each part of God's family.
We see this a lot in modern life. We see how a man will go out and be hostile to others - whether in business or politics or war. But when the man comes home to his family his tune will change. Suddenly, he is a loving man who cares about what his children did at school that day.
But the next day, the man may go out again and be hostile towards those who are outside his family. Why is this?
Mis-identification with the bodyThe reason people will feel fondness for family members and hostile towards others is due to identification with the physical body. We think that we are these physical bodies. And if another physical body is related to my physical body, they are family.
But this is wrong, as we show clearly in this treatise about our real identity. We are not these physical bodies. These physical bodies are temporary vehicles we drive. Within a few decades, these physical bodies will die and we will leave them behind.
Our real composition is spirit. We are made of spirit, not matter. As such, our nature is of the same nature as the Supreme Being - a spiritual nature. This means that we are related to the Supreme Being and we are each related to each other.
We are spirit and not matter, and everyone else is also spirit and not matter. We are each brothers and sisters from the same family - the family of the Supreme Being.
"Any other person"This is also reflected in the translation of πλησίον (plēsion) to "any other person" in the Gospels of Jesus - The Devotional Translation. In most sectarian Biblical translations we mostly find this word translated to "neighbor."
"Neighbor" is a very narrow and inaccurate translation of the Greek word πλησίον (plēsion). According to Thayer's lexicon, the word refers to "any other" or "fellow man" ("fellow person").
The use of the word "neighbor" is subject to gross misinterpretation. Do they mean loving only those who are in the same neighborhood? How about someone who lives outside our neighborhood - say, in another country?
Can a person living in another country truly be our "neighbor?" Those with a global frame of reference might say yes, because we all are "neighbors" throughout the world.
But if one interprets "neighbor" precisely, the translation is definitely suggesting there are those who are not our "neighbors." Perhaps this is someone who doesn't have the same nationality we have. Perhaps someone who doesn't go to the same church that we go to. Or someone who doesn't believe in God. Or someone who is not human.
All of these notions assume that we are these physical bodies. They assume that someone can not be our neighbor for one reason or another.
But this is not what Jesus is saying. He is speaking of loving EVERYONE. Regardless of whether they are our neighbor or not. Regardless of whether they go to the same church or believe as we do. Jesus wants us to love that person regardless.
Even if they are not occupying a human body.
Yes, our brothers and sisters are also occupying other types of physical bodies. These include animals, fish, birds and so on. With each of those bodies is a person. A spirit-person. And each spirit-person is our relative. They also belong in our family.
This is suggesting that Jesus wants us to not only love each other as family members. But also love our fellow spirit-persons who are occupying other types of physical bodies.
This is why it is important to try not to cause pain for anyone - including animals. This means living a life that respects and cares for all other persons.
Such a choice would also include what we eat. Do we need to kill and even torture animals in order to keep our bodies alive? In some instances - such as in the arctic or the middle of the desert - one might need to eat animals. But for the rest of us, in the modern age, we can certainly eat more consciously. We can keep our bodies healthy - even healthier - by not killing animals for food.
We can apply what Jesus says about loving one another in so many other situations. As we struggle for territory or position, we can consider who we might be struggling with. We are struggling with our family members. With those who share in the same inheritance that we do.
What is our inheritance?That common inheritance that we each share - no matter what we may currently believe or do - is that we each have the potential of a loving relationship with the Supreme Being.
This is our inheritance because this completes us. Love of God is what we are each seeking to achieve as we chase fame, wealth and sensual pleasure. We are seeking to become fulfilled. We are seeking to be completed.
The Supreme Being completes us because He is our Soul Mate. He is the "One" we are perpetually looking for throughout our lives.
Conversely, when we don't have our loving relationship with the Supreme Being, we are empty inside. Without our loving relationship with the Supreme Being, we have a void within us.
What fills that void is our innate loving relationship with the Supreme Being.
The New Testament verses in this article are quoted from the Gospels of Jesus: The Devotional Translations.