At the last supper, Jesus gave us a New Commandment. Jesus was very clear that this New Commandment was not to replace the original Ten Commandments. Jesus was very clear that this New Commandment was to be added to the Ten Commandments. Because this New Commandment is added to the Ten Commandments, I call the New Commandment the Eleventh Commandment.
What is the New Commandment?
As part of the original Ten Commandments we were to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Jesus taught us that was not enough. Jesus told us we must not use ourselves as a model for loving but we must use the example of Jesus himself as our model for loving. Jesus said we must even love our enemies.
What did Jesus mean by the word "love"?
When Jesus was asked,
The final part of Jesus' answer was, "Do this and you will live.". Jesus is very clearly telling us that love is not a feeling. Jesus is telling us that love is a doing. It is true that there are wonderful feelings associated with love. But the feelings are not the love. The doing is the love. The feelings come as a result of the doing.
Love requires decision and action. Before we can love we must make the decision to love. And the decision must be made on special motives. The motives must be pure. If we decide to do something nice for a person because we hope the person will grant us a favor, then this is not true love. This is selfishness. If we are doing the nice thing because we ourselves hope to benefit then this is not true love.
True love requires willing self-sacrifice.
True love is doing something nice for another person without any hope of personal benefit. Jesus did not receive a benefit by suffering and dieing on the cross. We sinners received all the benefits. True love is measured by willing self-sacrifice.
Willing self-sacrifice is the only measure of true love. Where there is no willing self-sacrifice, there is no true love.
But wonder of wonders we do receive benefit when we love. When we truly love, our heart becomes filled with wonderful emotions. God rewards us with ecstasy. Jesus taught us that true love is not an emotional feeling. True love is a doing. True love is a willing self-sacrifice. The wonderful emotional feelings associated with true love come as a result of doing good for others. The emotional feeling is not the love: the emotional feeling is a result of the love.
How can we love God?
Again love is a doing. Jesus said, "Whatever you do for the least of my bretheren you do for me."
The Greatest Commandment is "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thine whole heart, with thine whole soul, and with thine whole mind."
This is not just a suggestion. This is not just an
opinion that we decide to do or not to do.
What happens when we do not love? How can I love my enemy? Do! The first word is "Do". We must treat our enemies with loving kindness. We may not treat our enemies with disrespect. We must show respect. If Jesus demands that we love our enemies, how much more so does he demand that we love our spouses, relatives, and friends? Jesus is the Judge of judges. If we refuse to love, then Jesus finds us guilty.
I invite you to read the other pages of my Happiness Essays. I hope they will help you to become the happiest person you can be.
Last modified: July 22, 2012