We once thought, in our juvenile righteousness, that loving God was enough. It was of course the greatest commandment. We even said things like, “Love God and do anything you want.” We thought the Augustinian quip clever and thought it summed up everything there was to being a Christian and a just person in the world. We had forgotten that the other command was “like it,” and so in effect, its equal.
When we became “liberal” we thought that loving the neighbour was enough. We talked long about caring for all people everywhere and we were sincere. We thought that good will toward the global village was everything that was needed, and that in spreading this good intent people would eventually wake up to their destiny as humans and live at peace.
But it turns out, I find as I age and wonder about such things, that we need both. Both equally and desperately. And that while we can understand the encapsulation of both “loves” in one or the other, both need equal emphasis.
Admittedly a generalization but worth consideration, is that Marxism, communism was the organized attempt at loving the “sister/brotherhood.” And North American capitalism, exposed nightly on most networks as clandestine expansionism, is the governed result of “One Nation under God,” and “In God we Trust.”
Loving the sister/brotherhood in the absence of a love of God leads to a dehumanizing control of a sister or brother. On the other hand, in the vacuum of fraternal love, “loving God and doing what you want” leads to raping the earth and the exploiting her people. Holding up one love command at the expense of the other is a form of idolatry. And the outcome is pretty much the same either way.