If ye love me, keep my commandments.

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

COMMENTARY

If ye love me, keep my commandments.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.
These scriptures illustrate a beautiful symmetry in the commandments. Why does God give us commandments? Because He loves us. Why do we keep the commandments? Because we love God.
And yet this seems far removed from the way commandments are typically viewed. The world teaches us that commandments are given by a mean and angry God, and that they are followed by us only because we are afraid of His punishments. It is suggested that commandments are restricting, that they prevent the full expression of the self.
Laws of physics are celebrated, mathematical principles are praised, but laws to govern human behavior are always considered suspect. I guess it’s not too surprising, though, we humans have had a very bad track record when it comes to enforcing “correct” behavior. Most attempts to do so quickly turn into cruelty, intimidation, and fear-mongering.
And so the idea of being led by love instead of being driven by a stick might seem unnatural, and I guess given the ways of the world it is unnatural. But I can affirm it is also the truth. Anyone that has felt “chastened” by God knows it is an overwhelmingly loving experience. How did Jesus correct the woman caught in adultery? He saved her life, then told her “neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The symmetry of love as being the motivation for God giving us commandments and our following them is expanded still further when we realize that the commandments themselves are merely injunctions to love. Love God, love yourself, love others. God does not command us to hate, to steal, or to hurt. He does not command us to condemn or judge. If we respond to those that break the commandments in a way that is other than loving, then we have then broken the commandments also. The beam remains in our eye.

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