Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…And love your neighbor as yourself.” (NIV)
For two days in January, my husband Roger and I attended a pastor/spouse retreat in Alexandria, VA, with over 32 couples in attendance, and heard several sessions throughout the retreat that dealt with ministry, marriage, and family. One of these sessions included the scripture Matthew 22:37 where Jesus talks about the two greatest commandments: to love God first and to love your neighbor as yourself. The presenters asked the question: Who is your neighbor? Most of us would think of our neighbor as the person(s) across the street or next door to us, the cashier at the grocery store, the waiter/waitress at your favorite restaurant, etc. But what we fail to realize is that our neighbor includes our spouse–love your “spouse” as yourself. We are to love our spouse as God loves us and in doing so our love will deepen in our relationship with our spouse, and it will then branch out to our next door neighbors, friends, and family members because we love the One who gives us love.
On Saturday afternoon we visited the Mt. Vernon Estate of George and Martha Washington and had lunch at the Mt. Vernon Restaurant. Most of us had never had the privilege of visiting this historical place and seeing first-hand where President Washington and his wife lived. Afterwards, many of us noted that we learned more about President Washington after visiting the estate and museum than we knew about his life before we came. We all felt blessed to learn more about his morality, integrity, and beliefs which helped build and strengthen this great nation of ours.
More importantly, we all left that weekend learning more about ourselves and how to love each other more despite our differences and issues that were discussed in order for healing to take place in those relationships. The weekend ended with a time of communion, prayer, and blessing over each other at God’s table.
“Who is our neighbor?” Let us begin with loving our “spouse” as ourselves in the way that God has called us to love. That even means when trash is left on the counter top, dirty dishes are piled in the sink, and dirty socks are lying on the floor. We are to love as Christ commanded us to love, which is not based on feelings or how the other person is loving us. We love because He first loved us.
On Sunday, Roger shared a beautiful love letter from God to us, entitled “Father’s Love Letter.” This letter can be found at FathersLoveLetter.com. Reading these words from our Father can change your life if you let them. Valentine’s Day is this week. But don’t wait until a specific day to show your love. Do it today and every day as God intended.
Blessings on you,