“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you. . . . First go and be reconciled to them. . . .”
— Matthew 5:23-24
When Jesus was asked, “Which is the greatest commandment . . . ?” he quoted Deuteronomy 6:5, saying we should love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind. And he didn’t stop there. He also quoted from Leviticus 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” saying that this second commandment is like the first. What did he mean by this?
Jesus knew that we humans cannot love God in an isolated relationship. We cannot love God and despise people created in God’s image. In fact, perhaps the clearest way that we can show our love for God is to love other human beings, whom he loves.
And how do we love people well? By coming again and again to God in prayer and in learning from his Word. In the Bible we discover God’s character, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, we can show by our words and actions what we have learned about God’s love.
Jesus also explained that if we are worshiping God and seeking to do his will, and we remember there is something broken in our relationship with another person, we should try to find forgiveness or reconciliation with that person. Then we will be in the right space for loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind.
Father in heaven, as I come to you and seek to serve you, by your love and grace guide me to reconcile with others whom I have wronged. In Jesus’ name, Amen.