Jesus replied, “the most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, Oh Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’
The second (commandment) is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Earlier this week, a good friend of mine mockingly asked me the question: “If Christian’s are supposed to love others as they love themselves, well, what if I don’t love myself that much? Is it okay to just treat people to the extent of which I currently feel?”
I began to explain to him how much the second commandment hinges on the first, and how to love God with everything we are will lead us to the cross, and how important it is to start there first. Because think of it… All of our value and worth as Christians comes first from intimately knowing that God loved us so much that He would send His perfect, sinless, Son to take the utterly brutal and painful death of crucifixion, just to be reconciled to us for all eternity.
We were the prize set before him as he endured the cross.
We were the valuable possession worth leaving His heavenly glory to come find in all of our sick, depraved, self sufficient scheming.
Totally satisfied with that answer, my friend moved on to other conversations.
But later when I got home, the Word began to stir deeper in my soul.
It occurred to me… What if someone didn’t think really low of themselves, but instead, thought really high of themselves?
What if people didn’t love others as they loved themselves because they thought they were more significant, more important, more worthy, more faultless – than others?
I realized that the exact same cross would be the remedy for that too! It lifts the person who is low is self worth up to the cross… But it also brings those who are lifted high in pride and arrogance down to the cross, because the same cross that demonstrates the love of God for the unworthy, also demonstrates the disgust God has for even the smallest – if there is such thing – of sin!
Think about it…
The cross was necessary right back since the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate some mere fruit that they were counselled by God not to eat of.
If eating fruit initiated a sentence upon mankind that only the cross of Christ was sufficient alone to justify, then even our little ‘white lies’ as we call them; even our folly, our half truths (which are no truth at all) – all merit the exact same punishment, and are all remedied by the exact same cross!
Therefore, may we never find occasion to boast in anything but the cross, because truly, we would all be utterly hopeless without it!