In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus gave 2 commandments: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, 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 great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
I think we sometimes take life's journey and make it harder than what it should be. If we are following these two commandments then life can be so sweeter and so much easier. Let's count these Commandments out on our fingers. First, hold up your index finger - Love the Lord thy God. Loving God is easy. It honestly is. People sometimes think oh God I've done this or that and I'm such a sinner. Note that being aware that you are a sinner is not justification for us to continue to sin, however knowing that we are sinners gives us 2 very powerful tools - grace and mercy. These tools are not to be taken advantage of as they are not to be justifications for the things and the actions that you do. However, if and when we slip up, grace and mercy gives us the chance to get ourselves back in line and back on the road to our journey.
Second, hold up your middle finger - Love thy neighbors more than yourselves. We struggle with this because it's hard to love people that hurt us. Forgiveness is not for them alone. It is for us too. As we forgive people that hurt us, it frees up our hearts and allows the hurt, the anger, the pain not to settle inside of a place that they have no right to dwell in. The cavities and chambers of the heart of so very special. I remember being a child and watching a medical show and they were showing a bypass surgery. At the time this was something different. It was something that had just started being used in a wide variety and it was unique. Back then, I had dreams of becoming a doctor, thank you Cosby Show. I remember going to my grandparents house and telling my grandmother about watching this on tv. Grandma Ida gave me the strangest look asking, "Baby that really excited you? You really like that?" My answer to he was an excited yes, grandma, oh my goodness, it was so fun to watch. I would not go on to be a doctor, however what that show taught me was about the specialness of the cavities of the heart. Each cavity, each part of that heart has to function together properly for the heart to function entirely so that it can pump blood to the body for the body to function. If one of those cavities is damaged or hurt it could lead to severe issues within the heart that could eventually kill the person. That is part of the reason why heart attacks are so serious, they damage the heart muscles that allow the blood to flow.
Holding on to those things such as anger, frustration, depression, stress, hurt and pain and allowing them to manifest in the heart damage the heart. How? They burden it down and put a stress on it that it wasn't meant to carry. How then can you function? This is why forgiveness is so important. We cannot damage ourselves by allowing someone else's actions to enter into the special place inside of us that keeps us alive.
Now when you look at these two fingers in the air, it looks like the international symbol of peace. It's the same symbol that you see in the any television show, documentary, or movie about the 60s or 70s. But if we take these two fingers as symbols of the two Commandments that God gave us, then we will realize that we can have peace in our lives by doing the two things that God told us to do. "Peace be still"." It can be when we realize that all we have to do in life is follow two simple commands.