There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
When Jesus was asked how one can inherit an Eternity in Heaven, He simply replied that we should love the Lord and others with all of our hearts, minds, and selves. It’s a simple “ask”, but it’s a hard “do”. We live in the flesh and the flesh is weak. We grow tired, hungry, anxious, etc. We get moody. Many folks can do a pretty good job of loving God this way, but even that endeavor is tough enough in our earthly bodies. And, loving others the way that we love God is nearly impossible. That’s where Grace comes in. On our own, we cannot do it, but, with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). By getting as close as we can on a regular basis with God – through Prayer, reading Scripture, watching/listening to Uplifting/God-Centered Things (music, movies, books, magazines, friend groups, etc.), participating in Faith/Bible Groups – we can then move closer to others; or, at least, being much more patient and understanding about others and their situations, challenges, etc. By letting Jesus lead us through our agape love of Him, we can then begin to love ourselves and others the way that He does. Grace comes to those who seek it and Mercy will be there to all who call upon the Lord and let Him into their hearts. So, be sure to remember that Faith doesn’t make things easy; It just makes them possible.