As a child, I thought to believe in a God meant you had to follow a set of rules. Rules that were impossible to follow and rules that only made me feel guilty when I broke them.
I remember learning about the Ten Commandments in school. I also remember going to confession a few times a year to confess my sins. It all seemed to make me feel full of guilt and shame. No wonder I ran away from religion once I reached high school.
As an adult, I realized following God wasn’t about following rules – it was in fact about God’s love for us. I had an epiphany when I understood there is nothing I can do in life that will make God love me more or less. God’s love is pure and eternal.
I wish I would have learned about this love when I was younger. The emphasis should have been on what Jesus said about the two greatest commandments. Jesus said the first and the greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart, mind and soul. The second commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself.
Love God and love others. That’s it! Easy right? Not so much.
The reality is we’re all human. We all make mistakes. We will disappoint and others will disappoint us. We will say things we don’t mean out of anger – because we’re not perfect.
God is in everyone and in all people. Our role is to love all people.
Even the people who frustrate us. Even the people who hurt us or make us angry. Even the people who don’t deserve our love. All people.
Once you start to practice these two greatest commandments your life will change. Your relationships will change for the better.
You’ll start to see light in all people, even people who you didn’t like before. You’ll start to have compassion for people who you dislike. Your heart will expand and be warmer around the people you least expected.
You’ll be happier.
So, what’s love got to do with it?
I’d say everything!