Devotional – ‘Probing Questions About Loving Your Neighbour’ (07 Jan 2018)

“But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together.  One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘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 foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40 NASB)

Jesus, in summarizing the commandments, informs us that God’s law is abiding and valid. Not just for some, but for all. Not just then, but also now and forever. It is summed up in love. In fact, if we love the brethren, if we love our neighbour as ourselves, we are also demonstrating that we love God:  

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:1-3)

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

The American Presbyterian commentator, W.S. Plumer, at the end of each of his commentary sections on the book of Romans, had a series of questions and comments that he called Doctrinal and Practical Remarks.  In his commentary on Romans, he asked a series of questions to prompt self-examination about whether we love our fellow man.  It is convicting to read it and it is more convicting to have to type it. Read them through prayerfully, asking God to show you where you need to repent and make things right with your fellow man. Ask Him for help to obey Him. Here are Plumer’s questions:


“Is your love to man genuine?  Will it bear the test found in the second table of the law? (Exodus 20:12-17)  Are you guilty of sinful anger?  Of hatred? Envy?  The desire of revenge? Excessive passions? Distracting cares?  Sinful indulgences?  Do you hate peevish and provoking words?  Are your thoughts, feeling, and actions kind, meek, gentle, charitable, courteous, forgiving?  Do you cherish all chaste and pure thoughts, purposes, and imaginations?  Are your actions virtuous?  Is your apparel modest?  Is your behaviour light or impudent?  Do you abhor all that is unchaste in songs, books, pictures and thoughts?  Do you practice oppression, usury, lawsuits, deception?  Is your calling lawful?  Ought you not to make restitution in some case?  Do you promote truth and the good name of all men as you can?  Do you hate reviling, scoffing, whispering flatteries slander, exaggeration? Do you grieve at the good name of any lost?  Do you needlessly mention the faults of any?  Do you love to show kindness to all?  Are you fair at making bargains?  Do you plead your rank, condition or former standing as a reason why you should not love your poor neighbour?”