The Two Poles of the 2nd Commandment

It was Jesus Himself who identified loving God and loving neighbor as the first and second commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). It’s worth noting that the second commandment, like a magnet, has both a positive and a negative pole.

The negative pole:

“For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:9-10).

The positive pole:

Referring to the second commandment, a lawyer asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered his question by telling the story of the Samaritan who met the needs of the wounded traveler—providing first aid, transportation, and lodging.

He then asked the lawyer which of the key players in the story had “proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands.” The lawyer admitted, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Jesus replied, “Go and do the same” (Luke 10:25-37).

Both/And

So if we love our neighbor as ourselves there are certain things we will not do to our neighbor—to harm him (Galatians 5:14-15; James 2:8-9).  And there are things we will do for our neighbor—to help him (Galatians 5:13-14).

Let’s see how good a neighbor we can be this week!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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