I have been asked to lead a bible study this Sunday night at a brand new church plant, and have been looking over Luke 10, The Parable of the Good Samaritan. I love this parable which is probably why I go back to it time and time again. (I think this is at least the 3rd time I have written about it.)
The whole parable centers around the phrase, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all of your mind' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"
The problem the religious leaders seem to have in the parable, is that they view this phrase (love God and love neighbor) as commands that can be separated.
So when they come upon a man which looks as if he is dead, and they, being religious, know the scriptures forbid touching dead bodies or blood, they believe they have a choice to make. They can either love God, which is done by keeping his commands, or love their neighbor.
It seems like the church often times thinks it is faced with this same false dichotomy, we feel as if we have to choose between loving God or loving certain "neighbors."
The problem with this is that it couldn't be further from the truth, for in Jesus' understanding, loving God and loving our neighbors (everyone) are one in the same. They can not be separated.
1 John puts it like this...
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
In John, loving others is equated with knowledge of God, there are no propositions present. There are no doctrines that have to be believed, but rather loving others = loving God, and loving God = loving others.
It even goes on to say that "Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." if you ever question whether or not you are living in God, I think a good question to ask is, " does my theology cause me to love others?" If not, GET RID OF YOUR THEOLOGY.
So if it comes down to the Scriptures or love, "Love Wins", or as Marcus Borg put it, "Jesus trumps the Bible."