All of us are familiar with the Ten Commandments. We have heard about
them all of our lives. Many of us could recite most of them from memory. They are
the moral and ethical foundation upon which our society is based. Without them, it
would be impossible for people to live together in peace and harmony. But there is
another set of laws that are even more basic than the Ten Commandments. We
could call these the “Twin Commandments”. They too are found in the gospels.

The first is a quotation from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament:
“You shall love the Lord you God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind.” The
second is a quotation from the book of Leviticus also in the Old Testament: “You shall love your neighbor as
yourself.” Jesus took these two commands from God, found in two separate books of the bible and placed
them side by side. In His mind, they were a matched set. Each is a mirror image of the other.

But we need to stop and to think how can the two be alike. One pertains to God, whom we have
never seen or heard. The other pertains to real flesh and blood people. Surely, it isn’t the same to love one
as it is to love the other. Yet that is what Jesus said: “Love God.” This is the first commandment. The second
is like it. “Love your neighbor”.

So how are the two alike? For one thing, they are both commandments. They carry the force of an
obligation. To follow them, to practice them is the fulfillment of a duty that rests upon all of us.

Another way in which the two are alike is that they both require the same kind of love. This kind of
love that Jesus was talking about has little to do with feelings. It goes far beyond that. A feeling cannot be
mandated. We have not been commanded to “like” God or to “like” people. And we should be grateful for
that. There are days when loving God may seem fairly easy. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. But
there are other days when storm clouds gather, sickness comes, and “sorrows” are all around. On days like
that, God can seem very vague and far away. In times like those, it would be virtually impossible to love in
the sense of “liking“ Him the same holds true of people. There are some that we find very easy to love.
Then there are other people whom we do not like at all. They are rude and abrasive. He did, however
command us to love those whom we do not like. And we are to love God in the same way – even on those
days when we find it impossible to like Him.

What strange kind of love is this? It is an act of the will. It is a conscious volitional choice. It is
unconditional. Regardless of how it feels, it works for the highest good. That is how God loves us. And that
is how we are commanded to love Him and all other people.

There is a saying that we should love the sinner but hate the sin. We already know one person for
whom we do that very thing. That person is ourselves. There are times when we don’t like ourselves, when
we strongly disapprove of the things that we have said or felt or done. But even in those times, we still want
the best for ourselves. What we give to ourselves we can give to others.

So commit each day of your life to “loving God with your whole heart, and to loving your neighbor as
yourself.” But choose to do so one day at a me. You then will see these “Twin Commandments” work
miracles in your life. Try it and you too will see that it really works!