Episode 015 – Loving God By Loving Others

Key Passage(s): Matthew 22:34-40

Many of us know Jesus’ statement about loving God and loving others in Matthew 22. But I’m guessing most of us don’t know the Gezerah Shavah behind it that makes it even more fascinating, revolutionary, and challenging than we thought. This is what this teaching tackles as we seek to understand what it more fully means to love God by loving others.

Discussion Questions

  • What’s your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • If you struggle with loving people well, why do you think that is?
  • Who are the people who have taught you the most about loving people well? What do they do that’s so compelling? Have you replicated that in your own life?
  • How can you be more intentional and/or creative in loving others well?
  • What’s one step you can take in living out this truth this week?

For Further Study

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  1. William J Schmitzer May 15, 2018 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Very good message, oh how I love God, but I also struggle with loving others. I’m making progress but it seems so slow.

    Thank you Brad

  2. Adam Delp May 15, 2018 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Grateful for this teaching today Brad.

    Thank you for the good news! And thank you for the Gezerah Shavah explanation, helpful visuals, and introduction (for me) to Bob Goff’s books.

    This teaching seems especially poignant and applicable in light of current events in Gaza.

    In my experience, people that love God and love neighbors well from a deep place of shalom, also have an abiding love of self. A kind of trinity in and of itself. This radical acceptance of self seems to be at the heart of their ability to love God and love neighbors.

    In English, and in many years of hearing and contemplating this passage, the “as yourself” part of the passage seems like an afterthought.

    Any hermeneutical or experiential insight into the “as yourself” / love your self part of the verse?

    • Christopher A. Pohlod May 16, 2018 at 6:27 am - Reply

      I completely follow your thought here. I run a ministry for divorced children that the greatest commandments are the center of. There is a sequence to them that your “self” idea highlights… that idea is that you cannot truly sacrificially love your neighbor until you grasp God’s love of you and this flows to love of self. Our Christian world seems to condem love of self, but I think this is the work of the enemy. As a divorced kid myself, I had to learn to love myself from God. He shows me my worth and that I matter… because my feelings never “mattered” growing up (hyperbole). But until I could accept God’s love of me, when I would “love” a neighbor it would really be so I could feel better, not truly for them…. if you take the greatest commandments in sequence but keep them equal (remember we can reject dichotomies, these ideas are not mutually exclusive) it seems to work in a divine way. God loves us….we learn to love Him back, which allows us to gain love of self biblically which then allows us to then turn that biblical love outward to our neighbors….Covey’s 7 habits are organized like this… the first three are the private victory, while the second three are the public victory… while the last habit is self renewal or the wise Love of self….

    • Brad Gray May 24, 2018 at 2:21 pm - Reply

      Actually, Adam, the Hebrew of Leviticus 19:18 can be rendered, “and you shall love your neighbor who is like yourself.” This draws out a different aspect than what your inquiring about. What this angle highlights is that we are all in need of grace. So we love our neighbor who is in need of grace, just as we recognize we are like them in our need for grace. So we love because of our common humanity and mutual need of grace.

      From the perspective your asking about, if we don’t learn to love ourselves well, we’ll struggle to love others well because what we often don’t love in ourselves, we project onto others or see first in others. Thus, hindering our ability to love them well. Yes, it’s all interconnected ????

  3. Sonja May 15, 2018 at 9:22 am - Reply

    That was so good. Just what I needed to here today.

    Thank you. Brad

  4. Pamela VAlkema May 16, 2018 at 9:50 am - Reply

    This is good but I have a relative that says unless I accept them as a homosexual and their lifestyle then I cannot really love them. That is where I really really struggle. I cannot tell anyone that something scripture says is a sin is okay and I’m meeting too many people feel that unless I accept them and agree with their lifestyle (because they say it isn’t a lifestyle but how they were created), then I do not truly love them. Loving my neighbor who politically disagrees with me is okay, or even someone who is on a different faith journey but when someone is living a lifestyle that is outside of God and his love that’s where the problems exist.

    • Brad Gray May 24, 2018 at 4:54 pm - Reply

      I understand where you’re coming from, Pamela. There’s always a tension, especially in those situations. The challenge for me is figuring out how to love them well without policing their lives or making it seem that only when they do what I think is right then I will love them well. Jesus had an uncanny ability to not water down his values, but extend love and respect to people. Love them well and let God do what God needs to do in their lives.

  5. Sue Christian May 19, 2018 at 10:17 am - Reply

    I know God is love and I fall so short at times with others. I am buying the books you recommended. I also know that I fall so short of being a Christian but that means I need Him more than ever! I have to cling to Him because of my inadequacies! Look forward to your teachings each week.

    • Brad Gray May 24, 2018 at 4:55 pm - Reply

      In all of our weakness, we’re reminded how much we need God’s Spirit to empower us every day. I’m with you, Sue!

  6. Sabrina DeGreaffenreidte June 2, 2018 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Amazing! I have learned how to love others better by watching how persons with severe mental illnesses love one another so freely and without constraints. I pray to love more like they, for this kind of love has to be what your teaching was about. Thanks Brad????????.

    • Brad Gray July 1, 2018 at 10:18 am - Reply

      Great observations and comments, Sabrina. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Diane Anderson July 15, 2019 at 3:43 am - Reply

    Love your references to Bob Goff. So true, he is such a shining example and I certainly strive like everyone else to love everyone. Our book club chose his book earlier this year. I’ve loaned out my copy of Love Does, but one of my favorite stories in it was Jeepology- It resonates deeply with me! I strive to “leak Jesus” wherever I go. I can’t wait to read his next book!

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