Ten Commandments NOT The Greatest Mtt. 22:37-38
The Ten Commandments Are Not The Greatest
In Exodus 20, Moses recorded what is known as the ten words or the ten commandments. These are indeed unique. They formed the basics of Israel's relationship to God. God gave them to Israel. God wrote them. Yet for all their glory they are not the greatest commandments of God.
When asked was the greatest commandment was Jesus quote NONE of the 10 commandments but rather Deut. 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. When tested as to which was the greatest commandment, Jesus said: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment" (Matt. 22:37-38). Even though he wasn't asked about the second greatest, he added: "And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (vs. 39). He then said that ALL the law and prophets depend (hang, KJV) on THESE TWO. Even the 10 commandments 'hang' on these two commandments.
When one loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength there is no 'having another god' - either before God or alongside God. Loving God this way precludes taking his name in vain or using His name in a shallow, callous way. You would make pleasing Him your first priority and hence would not be evil, materialistic, or self-centered. Such love would constrain your very life.
Likewise, when one loves his neighbor as himself he won't murder them, steal from them, or lie about them. One would rejoice at their good fortune and not covet what they had. One would not break up their marriage. This would include respecting them and honoring them even if 'them' is your parents.
Learning to love God involves learning that He is indeed loveable. Learn all the good things that make up His character. He is kind, faithful, merciful, forgiving, just, righteous and holy. Learn to see ALL of these in the balance in which they exist with God. Learn to see all the things that God has given to us and acknowledge them in thankfulness. Loving God brings forth the praise and adoration for Him.
Learning to love your neighbor as yourself may in fact be more challenging, depending upon your neighbor. We are to learn to love them any way even if they are our enemy. We will treat them as we would want to be treated. We would esteem them above self as we consider our actions towards them. We not only would be forgiving of their faults but we would WANT to forgive them. We would seek out how we might bring about peace in our relationships. This would involve learning to see things from their perspective. To love them would be to understand their circumstance and problems.
Indeed, on these two commandments hand all the law and prophets.