James A. Washington

James A. Washington

The road to spiritual salvation is sometimes so obvious, so apparent that we just miss it. Like most of Jesus’ message, it doesn’t seem possible that by simply changing ones’ outlook, the Kingdom of Heaven is yours. “Teacher, which is greatest commandment of 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 just like it; “Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40. It is not always through guile and deceit that the devil works his evil. He can accomplish his goals if he can convince you that what is important is of minor matter and no consequence.

This love thing is well documented throughout the Bible and Christ certainly clarifies its importance in the above passage. Remember this is the Son of God talking. The single most important thing I can do to abide in God’s will is to possess love in my heart for God and my fellow man. Is that it? Yeah. That’s it! If that’s as close to a guarantee as we can get, why are many of us hell bent on doing the things that will insure our place at the table in Hell’s Kitchen?

I personally think the concept of loving God is easy to comprehend. Most of us, dare I say, are arguably trying to accomplish this in one way or another. It’s the loving your neighbor as yourself that’s causing the problem.

The devil is having a field day with this one. Count how many people you can’t stand at this very moment. Take your shoes off and add to your list those people, who if they died tomorrow, you would be among those who would say ‘good riddance.’

The devil knows man is not perfect, so he entices us into hating the imperfection of others, their flaws and faults, their weaknesses, and shortcomings. All the while, being imperfect ourselves.

Isn’t it interesting that most people, who claim being saved, tell you they first had to realize that God through Jesus’ sacrifice loved them warts and all? The stories come from former drug addicts, adulterers, petty gossipers, murderers, and greedy self-absorbed takers in life, who wished they knew how to have a healthy respectful loving relationship with another human being.

One by one, they, we, line up and confess that once we accepted that God indeed loves us, then and only then, are we able to love ourselves and subsequently love others just like they are all imperfect, all flawed children of God, all welcomed at his eternal table. At this point, one sees God in every man, every woman, and every child, because once you accept that God resides in your own sinful soul, you can see God in others.

God knew you before you knew you and he loved you anyway despite what He knew you were going to do or become. As incredible as those sounds, it’s true. It’s called love. 

God’s point is so simple. If He’s got it for you, the least you can do is have it for others. Step back, Satan. I love me and I ain’t got nothing but love for you too.

May God bless and keep you always.

This commentary originally ran in The Dallas Weekly

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