The Great Commandment


Life is not fair. From the human perspective, in which we live, life will never be fair. Did the Amish girls who were murdered a few years ago deserve to die? Who can name anyone who is more the image of chastity and innocence in our world than those children?

Holy Scripture speaks a lot about fairness and justice and equity. It is part and parcel of living the gospel life. We are to treat everyone as we would have ourselves treated by them. That is the second great commandment.

Some would argue that the second commandment is sometimes trumped by the First Great commandment, to Love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. They seem to believe that God’s honor is above or different from that of the people around us. Yet if we observe the way our Lord Jesus lived, we will see that the first Great commandment is kept *in the keeping* of the second. We love God by loving our neighbor who is made in God’s image. Say’s St John, “If any man says he loves God and hates his neighbor, he is a liar. How can the love of God dwell in him?”

What is fairness? Is fairness getting what we deserve? Certainly not. Justice would have us all in hell. We must get over this attachment to “Blind Justice”. Justice is NOT blind. It is precisely justice that SEES the plight of the poor, the sorrow of the oppressed, the need of widow and orphan, the disenfranchised, the lonely, the hurting and the weak. Without eyes to see the pain of the world, how can we possibly be fair? Fairness is love. To not love is to be unfair. IT’s that simple. Yes, yes, hate the sin but do not thereby neglect the sinner. We do not hate those who sin. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. So much “hating the sin” is in reality self righteousness and self-conceit. To “hate the sin” in truth, is to give oneself in love to the sinner.

Love is the essence of the law. Not man’s law, but God’s. If we do not love we are lawless. And love is not selective. Love itself is blind. It loves indiscriminately, without condition, without rules. It is free. And because it is free, it is the fulfillment of the Great Command to Love God, who alone is free and freely loves in and through us. Without this freely given love, we cannot know God and any pretense of love beside that is a lie.

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