One of my favorite scriptures is 1 John 4:19: We love each other because he loved us first. On the surface, this is an easily repeated text.
In truth, when the subject of loving others is studied more closely, often people ask, “Who are we really responsible to love?” In our humanity, we want to love others, but find ourselves picking and choosing based on our own emotions. We secretly harbor a scale of expectation that people need to live up to or else they become ‘unlovable.’ However, Jesus calls us to love with abandon. Biblical instruction on love and who to love encompasses the following:
1 God. In Matthew 22, when asked which law under Moses was the greatest, Jesus answered: “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment…. (verse 37-38).
2. Your neighbor. Continuing in Matthew 22, Jesus adds: “A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (verse 39).