On the Division of the Commandments into Two Tablets:

Q. What are the two divisions of the ten commandments?
A. Love of God, and love for our neighbor.

Q. Has not Jesus Christ taught the twofold commandments?
A. Jesus said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Mat. 22:36-40

Q. Are all men our neighbors?
A. Yes, all; because all are the creation of one God, and have come from one man: but our neighbors in faith are doubly neighbors to us, as being children of one heavenly Father by faith in Jesus Christ

Q. But why is there no commandment of love to ourselves?
A. Because normally we love ourselves naturally, and without any commandment. No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it. Ephes. 5:29

Q. What order should there be in our love of God, our neighbor, and ourselves?
A. We should love ourselves not for our own but for God's sake, and partly also for the sake of our neighbors: we should love our neighbor for the sake of God: but we should love God for Himself, and above all. Love of self should be sacrificed to the love of our neighbor; but both should be sacrificed to the love of God. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

He that loves father or mother more than Me, said Jesus Christ, is not worthy of Me: and he that loves son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me. Mat. 10:37


One big part of this is the underlying assumption that love and justice and mercy are related and cannot be truly separated.  Revenge is described as being personal, about how you feel about how the person behaved while justice is impersonal and about a standard.  Also justice is closure and revenge is a cycle.  It is open to causing more destruction and more and more.  We must ask, is it okay to be all about preventing too much harm?  Or about keeping it impersonal?  Are those who claim to be about both principles in fact lying?

The problem with loving God that much is that we simply cannot do anything about it if we burn with rage against those who offend God.  Part of the problem is we cannot forgive for God.  Not won't. Can't.  Also the Bible says God himself does not forgive those who hate him unless they repent.   2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation.” 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he - will forgive our sins."  Jesus himself said that even we should not forgive unless the person repents and asks.  Luke 17:3-4: If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. 

Jesus famously forgave those who nailed him on the cross, we are told.  In fact he did not.  He asked God to forgive them.  ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do’ in Luke 23:34.  Praying to forgive somebody is compatible with not forgiving them.  It means you want to forgive and for God to forgive too.  Tradition says that we are to judge fairly and St Paul commands that you must endure a wrong rather than get it judged by a secular court.  He said the wise people in the Church must judge.  1 Corinthians 6.

Unconditional love in the Christian faith means God always wills your good. He does what is best for you and that may include punishing you to make you your best self.  This is not the same as treating you as his friend when you are not.   Unconditional love does not imply unconditional forgiveness. 

When people demand unconditional love from God it is really unconditional forgiveness they want.  They want to do what they want and still get rewards.


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