A lawyer once asked Jesus what the most important demand was for him to rise to. Jesus told him to love God with his whole heart and to love his neighbor as himself.
As I pondered this command, it struck me how many other obligations we embrace that are unproductive, and even harmful to our progress.
For instance, have you ever felt obligated to worry? What about feeling pressured to correct someone? Or becoming inordinately preoccupied with the body or with illness? Have you felt fear was necessary? The list of errors, when indulged, that waste time, thought and energy can become quite lengthy.
As I ponder my number one obligation to God, which is to love my neighbor as myself, the load is much lighter. I love the inspiration that I am not required to fuss, fret or fume about anything. I’m only asked to live a life of love, peace and harmony, expressing God’s unselfish and unconditional love toward one and all.
If I do worry or fear, then I’m not trusting God. I’m acting like a god unto myself, and no wonder the feeling is unpleasant, I’ve realized. It’s not a spiritually right activity to be engaged with! It necessarily brings suffering along with it.
So, a quick route out of suffering is often to rise to the simple straightforward demand of “Have one God and love your neighbor as yourself.”
If we spent all of our time loving others there would be no time or mental space left for unloving attitudes and beliefs to absorb our attention. And angst or inner turmoil that cause pain and suffering would be gone.
Love your neighbor as yourself! It’s all you have to do today.
Now that’s an obligation I can happily embrace and run with!