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“LOVE thy neighbor”

Why is this a challenge for mankind? This should ( not ) be that difficult ! Leviticus 19:18

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”

“Love” - an intense feeling of deep affection. “Thy” - ( your ) “Neighbor” - to be situated next to or very near (another). John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

What does that really mean ? We hear it all the time… ( Or maybe not enough? ) “What is being implied here”? What GOD taught through Moses is ( also taught by JESUS ), that a man should love his neighbor as himself; thereby fulfilling the law - and that fulfillment of the law [is] (love). The comparison here is between what our LORD had said unto the Jews and what HE now says to the disciples. “Whither I go ye cannot come.” (John 7:34) To the Jews he added, “Ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24) The believing [not] is (itself) a state of sin. It is a (separation from) the only source of life, and (is necessarily) accompanied by death.

For those who believe [in] HIM, HE has no such decree of separation-- -but a new and different commandment, by which HIS spiritual presence would at once be realized and proved. ( Love- to one another,) and therefore sacrifice of self for another’s good, would be, in the truest sense, a realization of HIS presence in their midst. HE called this a ‘new commandment,’-- though to love one’s neighbor as one’s self, was a familiar (commonplace) among'st the Jews, and had a recognized position in Rabbinical teaching. But HIS commandment proposed a new object of love, it set forth a new measure of love, so greatly different from all that had preceded it- -as to become almost a new ‘kind’ of love, and it suggested and supplied a new motive power for love. -“AGAPE LOVE”- αγάπη αγάπη ( Love Love )- properly, love which centers in moral preference. The Greek word agape is translated “love” in the New Testament. The essence of (agape love) is: goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight. A love closely associated with kinship ties.. Faithfulness, Commitment, and an act of the will. It is ( NOT ) to be confused with: {“Eros”} -sexual yearning, love, or desire. *(That is not what is implied here.)* Nor is it, the Greek word “philia”- Which implies ‘brotherly love, as in a ‘friendship’. (Agape) is used ‘distinctly’ in the new Testament to describe the love that is [of] and [from] GOD, whose very nature [is] love itself: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). GOD does not (merely) love; HE [is] love, In and of itself. Everything GOD does- flows from HIS love. I think a big ‘hint’ is implied here, when JESUS says: (in John 13:34 ): (( “as I have loved you” )) -- -{ How had JESUS (loved) HIS disciples?? }-

In Truth? YES ! I’d have to say; “YES” HE loved them in truth. Truthfully. HE ( JESUS ) Loved them in truth, truthfully. (Not) the definition of what people ‘today’ ‘Perceive’ as the truth, that is, (whatever they choose it to be). I mean Real, Honest, Righteous, Truth. One thing JESUS cannot do is: tell a lie. HE simply cannot. GOD can’t Lie. It is simply a function from within HIS being, that cannot and does NOT exist. Truth is in the reality of — that which is true about GOD - GOD [is] the CREATOR. JESUS CHRIST [IS] That CREATOR. John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (This is speaking of JESUS CHRIST.) To deny such, is baseless and reckless speculation, -(Romans. 1:20). When individuals refuse to glorify GOD as GOD, and are filled with (ingratitude), they willingly exchange “the truth about GOD for a lie” (Romans. 1:25).

Truth is the reality about what GOD says. GOD reveals what is real, and therefore true about man’s moral culpability. ( our responsibility for a fault or wrong; blame ) GOD makes known the plan of redemption, (Agape love) so we can learn of the truth of the gospel; Galatians. 2:5 -- To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. Man’s sin and GOD’S plan are real. They (are) true. Therefore, GOD’S redemptive work- is often labeled in Scripture as: “the truth.”

Romans 13:10 “Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law”. Fulfilling of the law.—εκπληρώνοντας το νόμο The form of the Greek word implies not only that love helps a man to fulfil the law, but that in the fact of the presence (of love) in his heart, Through which the law is actually fulfilled. John 13:35 By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, [if] ye have love one to another.

The principle here stated is beautifully worked out in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

4 Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Truth is reality about what GOD [will] do. The certainty of judgment is real... Some believe that they will escape the judgment of GOD (Rom. 2:3), but such is ‘foolish optimism’. GOD’S righteous judgment is certain, and HE will render a moral verdict and enforce divine punishment through the man whom HE has appointed, JESUS CHRIST (Acts 17:31), our KINSMAN REDEEMER. HE is the Judge of the living and the dead (2 Timothy. 4:1). This too, is done through love. One of the greatest stumbling blocks to Christianity, (especially) among those who are drawn to the idea of a loving, compassionate GOD, is the Bible’s teaching on judgment… ( or, rather ‘their’ interpretation of it.)

JESUS, who was full of compassion and gave HIS life because GOD so loved the world, spoke (more) about (judgment) than most other subjects. HE could not have been more clear... - that a verdict awaits those who, in pride and self-sufficiency, exclude themselves by dismissing HIS generous offer of salvation by grace through faith (Matthew. 5:22; John 3:16-18). Yet the same JESUS got upset with anyone who wished judgment on others (Luke 9:51-56). Though divine justice demands payment for sin, HE desires that all would turn to HIM and find shelter from the wrath to come. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? (Ezekiel. 18:23). (Live where? - In eternity.) So---- If ‘love’ is fulfilling the law, fulfilling the commandment given By JESUS, and we love each other in truth, in true compassion towards each other, not boasting of it, or in trying to call attention To ourselves, which is an attempt at self-righteousness... ( vaunteth ) Then we ( are ) in effect caring for, ( loving ) our neighbor As we would ourselves. Caring for them as we would give personal care and attention for ourselves. So ---- “Why is that so hard” ? +Don’t We want to be known for showing compassion and understanding? +Shouldn’t we desire to show nothing but grace and love as we are taught? +Better still, should we not long to show GOD that we really do LOVE each other? That we really do LOVE HIM?? If not, then WHY NOT? The cold hard fact IS that - one day [we] WILL be judged. Nobody (wants) to be judged. In fact, most of us are terrified of being judged.

Psalms 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Why then, aren’t most of us reluctant, (as we should be), to judge others?

Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

When GOD’S teaching about judgment is [dismissed], (all) victims of injustice, violence, and oppression are then put at risk. If GOD is a GOD of love, ( and HE is ) Then (without the accountability of justice), the vulnerable people become more vulnerable, and bullies are encouraged to continue bullying. So then by GOD judging those perpetrators (righteously so) HE is exercising compassion towards the innocent victims, Because HE LOVES them. Proverbs 8:7 & 8:17. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Love thy Neighbor - CHRIST’S Answer to Religious hypocrisy… Matthew Chapter 23:26-28

[Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness.

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Love thy neighbor was, it seems (in part), JESUS'- answer to the Pharisees, the chief religious sect of that day, when they asked HIM about the greatest commandment in the Law. ( Matthew 22:36-40). These religious leaders had made almost an ‘art form’ of classifying all the various laws and giving them relative degrees of importance, so in asking JESUS this question, their aim was to test HIM. HIS answer stunned them: 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.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

JESUS was summing up [all] (the law) in these two statements. If we love the LORD GOD with all our heart, soul and mind, then loving our neighbor should be the natural result. Why…….? How’s that song go, the one that is in- “Fiddler on the roof” ? “...Do you love me…” Because; “ IF “ we love HIM……. We indeed FULFILL The Law. We Fulfill the Commandment. ( Because ) We Love HIM !

John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” ! ! !

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