Love in Two Directions
Bible Reading: Exodus 20:1-17
I am the Lord your God…. Do not worship any other gods besides me. Exodus 20:2-3
Mrs. Taylor wears a permanent frown. That’s a problem, because she is a Christian. So everyone who meets her thinks that knowing Jesus must make you a crab.
Talk about it: Have you ever met believers who are unkind? How does that make you feel about being a Christian?
You’ve maybe bumped into Christians who seem to have forgotten that God puts love in the center of what it means to follow him. It’s not enough to claim we love God. Our task is to love in two directions: God and other people.
Jesus taught, “‘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. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Everything we’re supposed to do is summed up in these two commands. We love God with our whole self—that’s “vertical love.” And we love others as we love ourselves—that’s “horizontal love.”
The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 are organized into the two directions of love. The first four commandments show what vertical love for God looks like:
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not worship idols.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Then the next six commandments paint a picture of horizontal love for others:
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not give false testimony.
10. You shall not covet.
Loving God means we worship him and recognize his total greatness in everything we think, say, and do. And to love people means we treat them in a way that fits their incredible worth to God. That’s nothing to be crabby about!
TALK: God calls you to love in two directions—to love him and love others. How are you doing at each?
PRAY: God, increase in us our love both for you and for people.
ACT: Are you ever a crabby Christian? What do you want to do to change?