The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
SIT AT THE FEET OF MARTIN LUTHER
When you’re wondering whom you should show love to, there’s no living creature better than your neighbor to show love to. Your neighbor is not a devil, lion, bear, or wolf. He is not made of stone or wood, but he is a living being who is much like you. There is nothing living on the earth more lovable, kind, useful, good, comforting, or more necessary. He was even created for friendly conversation and for social life.
There is nothing in the whole world more worthy of our love than our neighbor.
But it’s the remarkable craft of the devil that he not only severely darkens our hearts and tears this superior object of our love from our hearts. But he also persuades our hearts of the opposite opinion so that we think our neighbor is more worthy of bitter hatred than of love. This is easy for the devil to do. He simply nags us: “See, this person has such and such a fault. He abused you. He hurt you….”
Then this object of love quickly becomes contemptible to us so that we no longer recognize our neighbor as one who should be loved but rather as an enemy worthy of intense hatred.
In this way, Satan can amazingly change the love in our heart so that, instead of loving our neighbor, we become capable of demeaning, hating, and persecuting him. Then all that remains of this commandment, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” are the bare and empty letters and syllables.
This devotion is from “By Faith Alone: 365 Devotional Readings by Martin Luther.”