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LOVING GOD WITH OUR “ALL”

 

Paul Schneidmill

 

The other day, my 77 year-old dad fell and injured himself while descending an out-of-service escalator in Washington, D.C.  He was taken to a local hospital and diagnosed as having suffered a separated shoulder.  I found out about his unfortunate mishap approximately two hours after it happened. 

 

Now, here’s the part where my story may really begin to interest you: When I heard about it, I didn’t blink.  I other words, I was not anxious, disturbed, distraught, frightened, hurt, sad, or upset.

 

That was not because my dad is a resilient or strong person (he’s not), or even because I implicitly trust God to take care of every situation in the world He created and oversees (I do).   

 

It was because I don’t particularly like my dad (and haven’t for years).  Therefore, in actuality, I was largely unconcerned about him; even in relation to his incident.

 

“Hey, wait a minute.” you might be thinking, “You profess to be a Christian and a minister of the Gospel…don’t you love or even care for your own dad?”

 

Yes, I am a Christian and a minister of the Gospel.

No.  I cannot unequivocally state that I love my dad…admittedly and specifically not like God would have me to love him.

 

Yet on that day, even after reflecting upon the 40-plus years of psychological abuse and mistreatment I’ve suffered (and suffer to date) from my dad; this is what my heavenly Father taught me:

 

In Mark 12:28, a scribe – a writer and teacher of the Mosaic commandments, asked Jesus which was the first (foremost, most paramount) commandment of all.  Jesus responded that the first commandment was that people should (must) love God with all our heart (spirit), soul (essence), mind (intellect, knowledge, and reasoning), and with all our strength (ability, force, might, and power). 

 

Then, Jesus offered some additional, but highly pertinent and relevant information.  He told the scribe that the second commandment was just like and equal to the first, “…namely this, you shall love your neighbor – your acquaintances, associates, family, friends, and enemies, in the same manner and with the same intensity, as you love yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31; paraphrasing and expounding – mine)

 

I realized again more implicitly for the first time (smile), that if I didn’t love people – all people (who are my neighbors) with the same love (care, concern, and devotion) as I love myself…even if it’s someone who’s treated me significantly bad – no matter how close or not so close they are or may be; if I don’t love them the way Christ required and yet requires, in essence, I will not, or be able to, love God with the “all” that He desires.

 

We must love God with our “all” as Jesus conveys three places in Scripture (Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12: 30-31, Luke 10:27).  Just know that the key to doing this – demonstrating, exercising, and relating that love, is by loving all others, all people…no matter who they are or what they’ve done to us.

 

By now, you’ve undoubtedly determined that I need your prayers.  I request them and thank you for them graciously.

 

I want to sincerely and truly love God with my “all.”       

             

Paul Schneidmill © Copyright 2005