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9.17.2005

The two great commandments


The two great commandments: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.

One involves your relationship with what is above you (vertical); the other involves your relationship with other human beings created by God in His image just as you are (horizontal).

The first commandment involves presence and being awake to what is higher than you (recognizing and accepting chain-of-command and your place in that chain); the second commandment involves loving your enemy.

As Jesus says, afterall, if all you did was love those who it is easy to love then where is the effort in that?

Liberals get this commandment all twisted up (either because they're confused, or because they have motivation to intentionally twist it).

It's in your self-interest to love your enemy. Ironically, the very act of loving your enemy keeps you separate from the world. Sanctification is being separated out, afterall. When you're able to love your enemy (anyone, in the moment, in an event, in real time, or in imagination, or from memory, that you would normally feel and act out resentment and anger or depression in some way, to some degree, towards) you're able to be contained and separate from the influences of the world. This combined with actively being in the presence of God and recognizing God and loving God -- builds you up by degree into the full image of God. It is a process of provoking limits and extending limits.

When you are able to be more present and awake in the presence of God you get filled with the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God wars with your carnal self. This is the battlefield. This is provoking your limits. This energy - friction - created inevitably gets expended, via resentment, on other human beings. Which is why you have to practice the second commandment to love your neighbor (or more, practically put, and as Jesus put it elsewhere, love your enemy).

It's all a process of developing in the image of God. It's all activity and effort that is in your self-interest. 'Love' in this sense is not even the mushy, emotional love associated with the word. It involves everything summed up in the practice of putting yourself in another person's shoes and also seeing in yourself what you dislike in others. Forgiving others' debt - or perceived debt - to you so God will forgive yours. Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

There's a two-part process in the above that feeds on each other, and when done as a part of your actual will (when acting from God's will becomes your actual will) it develops you - increases your level of being (i.e. increases your capacity to contain understanding and increases your ability to glorify God) by degree, which defines recovering by degree the full image of God (which is complete at glorification, but needs to and can occur by degree right here and now -- and should occur right here and now. The parable of the talents alone gives motivation and biblical warrant for this).

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