Posts Tagged ‘Scot McKnight’

The simplicity and power of loving my neighbor as I love myself is staggering. But I don’t do it. I’m not just talking about the people who live next door of course. I mean that more challenging neighbor, the one typified in the parable of the good Samaritan [Luke 10:25-37], possibly even an enemy.

Romans 13:9b-10
You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law.

I know, people roll their eyes when I start talking about the force of love. It all sounds so “cheesy” and “new-agey” or maybe it’s those memories of “flower power” and “free love” from the 60’s. But I keep running into this command as I study the scriptures and I think the repetition is worth noting.

Scot McKnight has it right when he espouses what he has coined the Jesus Creed, that basic tenet captured by Jesus when he was asked by the Pharisees, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” [Matthew 22:35-39]

Is my trouble in my inability to love myself? I know a lot of teaching has turned in on itself and somehow, the emphasis has shifted to loving self. Pretty funny, really. There are folks who can’t seem to get away from it “being all about them.” As though this practice of loving self would teach us to love another. I don’t think so.

Or is the problem in my definitions of love? Certainly Webster’s Dictionary doesn’t help much as there is so much emphasis on romantic and sexual love and that’s not the love that is meant for my neighbor (unless it’s “Housewives of Orange County” or whatever is the new “Peyton Place”).

Truthfully, I know enough about the love of scriptures to practice it if I really wanted to do it. Agape love is the term used here and it’s more sacrificial in nature. Agape love means I must step outside my comfort zone. And in the end, that’s the main reason I don’t practice it regularly. I don’t like being outside my comfort zone.

God forgive me.

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John 8:54b-55
“…My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word.”

I claim the Father as my God. I seek to know Him. But knowing God, the Father, is to keep his word. And there’s the rub.

If I could keep God’s word in my own power, I wouldn’t need a savior.

And when we talk about his word… what exactly do we mean? The 10 commandments? I’m dead in the water there. And what about the Great Commandment from Jesus (coined by Scot McKnight as the Jesus Creed) [Mark 12:29-31]:

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.

How are we doing on that one? Of course, in the end, the entire New Testament was written to help us work out what these two commandments mean and demand of us as followers of God, as disciples (students) in the way of Jesus.

I have no strength. I fail daily. I confess daily. I call on the grace of Christ Jesus. And that’s THE way.

Grace is the whole point. So now, whenever I see the phrase, “keep His Word,” I replace it with the truth, I “keep the Grace” and for that grace, I give thanks to Jesus who offers it freely.

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Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…

I am currently reading The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight who made this comparison between views of salvation.

So often, people think of salvation as a “birth certificate” and once they’re born again, the work is done and they have their “pass” into heaven. But his Jesus Creed, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. [Luke 10:27] takes more than just a “pass.” Hence, the idea of a Driver’s License in which we learn and become better at the skill.

Love is a skill. Love is conscious. Love is intentional. Love is risk. Love is trust. Love is kind. Love is patient. Love is other-oriented. Therefore, love is also humility.

These do not come naturally to us. I think it’s interesting that I Corinthians 13, the great “love” chapter, actually highlights all the things that love is NOT more so than what love is. Perhaps this is because we more familiar with the “nots” of love.

I have two teenagers who have put off learning to drive a car for almost 2 years. They have plenty of friends, a brother, and parents, who have been hauling them around. They have not seen a “need” for a driver’s license. A driver’s license is a scary business. How many of us remember that first day we got behind a wheel? When did we really start getting comfortable as drivers? So often, we take the whole process for granted.

I can see this applying to a lot of Christians (including me). As long as we remain in our safe environments, go to church every Sunday, drop a buck or two in the offering plate, attend a workshop or a covered dish, we’re good. The driver’s license form of salvation requires more of us… of me. I mean, I’ve had my Jesus license for 30 years. Isn’t it time to start driving into some unfamiliar roads and places?

My daughter has finally started driving practices. She is fearful of all the other drivers. She still drives very slowly. She is very cautious. When we start using our Jesus license, we will be the same way. But, in the end, we must build up our speed. We must trust what we know. We must integrate all the rules with the pleasure of it. We must teach others to drive. And that’s the scariest part of all.

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