Read Mark 12:28-31
28 Then one of the scribes approached him. He had been listening to the discussion, and noticing how well Jesus had answered them, he put this question to him, “What are we to consider the greatest commandment of all?”
29-31 “The first and most important one is this,” Jesus replied—‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength’. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. No other commandment is greater than these.” (JBP)
It is often said that Christianity is all about love. Which it is, but behind that generalisation is the matter of just how we define love and what love means in practice. Jesus was pretty clear in saying that loving God and loving others was at the heart of all godly morality. Few would disagree with this.
But it leaves open this matter of just how we love. It is one thing to say the golden rule is love, but what is loving in certain situations? Is granting someone’s wish loving? Is allowing someone to have their own way loving? Is a word of rebuke loving? Love may not always involve doing the pleasant or comfortable or expected thing. The overarching rule of love has to be applied to each and every situation.
So we need to marry discernment to love. Love without discernment degenerates into sloppy sentimentality. Discernment without love is sterile knowledge. I am commanded to love, and in order to do so fruitfully I have to invite the Spirit of God to help me know how and when and where to love. God’s rule book gives me the basic principle: God’s Spirit gives me wisdom to practise that principle.