I have been contemplating this idea for quite some time now. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s gospels we see the same quotation by Jesus.
Mar 12:30 – And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.
31 – And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
32 – And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33 – And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
34 – And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him [any question].
I have not encountered too many people in my life who have any issues with God. I realize now that most people have issues with His people, or other people in general. I used to say, church would be wonderful if there were no people to deal with! But the truth needs to be told, I honestly do not believe we as a people understand this concept of love thy neighbor ‘as’ thyself. It could be quite possible that we understand it, but our state of mind and being just won’t allow us to engage. The great thing that Jesus addresses is this pseudo form of christianity and spirituality. The Scribe in the story of Mark says you are right Jesus! Like Jesus really needs any confirmation or affirmation from him. This only proves the arrogant spirit by which the Scribe spoke in the first place.
The Scribe seeks to validate himself by agreeing with Jesus publicly. He recites to the letter exactly what Jesus was teaching. But Jesus says an amazing response to the Scribe, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” No one even know what to say to Him after that. I interpret that as you can ascend to an understanding, and a head knowledge of the ideology. You can conceptualize it in your brain, but until you actually practice it, you will always see the Kingdom as being a place to attain to, rather than live in. Could be possible that Jesus exposed this man’s religion for what it was, a bunch of concepts and principles.
This famous portion of scripture has come to be known as the ‘golden rule’. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is so much more than a golden rule. It’s the Kingdom rule and way of life. I am concerned in this day and age that people do not have a clue what the latter part of the ‘rule’ truly is? We all sort of have an idea about what it means to love God with our heart, soul, and mind, and strength. But honestly I am convinced that we would get so many variations and ideas of what it means to love others as you love yourself. The obvious question that I would have for people, is not only what does that mean, but do you? Do you truly love your neighbor as much as you love yourself? What does self-love mean anyway? These are valid questions that I am processing. If I had the time and resources I would love to do an anthropological research on this one concept. I somehow think it is key to our Kingdom Living. I am not convinced that we have or can manifest the Kingdom of God without first loving our neighbors as ourselves!
I believe that people would rather be in a revival outpouring than a community one. I have been to and experienced the true anointing and revival atmosphere. I mean in the very literal essence of God almighty. Where even like Job, he says the hairs on the back of neck stood up! I have been in this environment many times. My question to all of the apostolic reformers, and revival seekers is this; can you have a true move of God, without community life? Did the people in the book of Acts join the church, once 3000, and then again over 5000; simply because of the miracles? Or did they join because of the community life, and the fact that everyone’s needs were met. Not one single person lacked in that community. Which would be a bigger miracle and impact? Seeing God heal someone, or people living in true community and looking out for each other?
In America we are blessed with a curse at times. Our Constitution guarantees the pursuit of happiness. (self-love) And we are under the banner of independence and freedom from others. Kingdom living is contrary to the American way of life believe me. I read somewhere not long ago that this generation will go down in history as one of the most narcissistic generations of all time. Loving thyself and narcissism are a million miles apart. Self love has more to do with respect, honor, care, and boundaries. narcissism is all about the Ego / Carnal Mind and self loathing.
Sigmund Freud came to the conclusion that every human has the inherited default (gene) propensity to narcissism. I call that the Ego/Carnal Mind. Narcissism is egotistic elitism that tends to be indifferent to the plight of others. To be overly consumed with ones own sense of self-importance and need, compared to others. We somehow in our culture call that spirituality. The ground is level for all, with the opportunity to become unequal. That’s what I have heard all of my life. And God only helps those who help themselves. I believe we are all unique individuals with individuality. But I am convinced that this idea of not caring for others is interfering with our opportunity to manifest our true nature!