The Greatest Commandment

 “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
Job 6:14
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The Greatest Commandment
When Jesus is asked by the Pharisees which is the greatest commandment, He answers by summing up the first table of the Law.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37) This is who we were created to be.  Unlike any other creature we have the capacity to love.  It is only in the fall, where we lose and corrupt this ability. We turn our love away from God towards any number of distractions.  Be it money, food, entertainment, fame, fleshly desires, we fallen humans have turned it into an idol of our affection.  This is the accusation Job now levels at his friends.  Because they have lost sight of God’s turn nature, they have failed to live up to the second part of Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees. “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) When we don’t love God above all things, we are incapable of truly loving our neighbor. Cruelty not love was at the core of Job’s friends' advice.  The same is true for us when we don’t rightly speak God’s Word to those around us.  Our words become like daggers piercing the hearts of those we are intending to comfort. Our kindness is withheld when we don’t fear the Almighty.  For it is only the heart which the Holy Spirit has turned towards God which can offer love, because it offers Jesus.  It is only through God’s love that we can love our neighbor, and in turn that love nurtures a love of God. A love made manifest in Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection for you.
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