Last night I watched the movie Pay It Forward. I had heard of the movie and had even seen some scenes from it before. But I’d never actually sat down and watched the movie in its entirety. After getting the kids fed, bathed, and into bed at a decent time, I turned on my television to wind-down for the day. TVGN was the station that I last viewed and I simply let the channel stay there. As it happens… Pay It Forward was on and I quickly found myself falling in love with the movie. Such a simple idea… paying it forward; to accept the kindness of someone and find an opportunity to show kindness to another person. To me paying it forward all boils down to love. Simply loving one another… loving our neighbor as instructed in Mark 12:30.
As the ending of the movie approached, I got the uneasy feeling that something terrible was going to happen to one of the main characters. As the scenes played out, my suspicion was confirmed when that particular character’s life was taken in a matter of seconds. I cried like a baby. It was just too much. With all that’s going on in the world right now. Israeli-Gaza conflict. Christian babies, men, women, children being slaughtered for their faith in Syria and Iraq. People lauding Hitler as though he were some type of hero. Hate crimes against Jews across the world on the rise. Unarmed teens being murdered by men sworn to protect. With all of the death and hatred swarming around us… people are still not learning. People are still not choosing to love. Choosing hate. Choosing to continue the cycle of taking lives, when there are so many uncontrollable factors around us that can snuff out our lives without warning. ALS. Cancer. Ebola. Yet still, people are choosing to take lives. Why can’t we learn to love each other? Why does it remain so difficult?
In Mark 12:30, before the Lord telling us to love each other… we are first instructed to love the Lord.
“and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” –Mark 12:30-31
I believe that the Lord instructs us to love Him first because He knows that we cannot love each other until we learn how to love Him. It is impossible. We will fail every time we try to leave G-d out of it. Look at the way that the world is rejecting Him; and look at the increase of hatred over love. Everyone comprehends it, but they seem powerless to stop it. That’s because we ARE powerless without Him. We must learn to love the Lord first and He will empower us to love one another. It is the only way.