Let’s play a game. Who are:
Ernst Schmied/Jurg Marmet?
Each of them are among the greats in their field … and each of them is virtually unknown. Perhaps it would help to compare them to this list of people:
Edmund Hillary/Tenzing Norgay
Norgay and Hillary were the first pair to reach the top of Mount Everest – Schmied and Marmet were the second.
Bannister was the first person to break the four-minute mile – Landy was the second.
Armstrong commanded the first successful moon mission – Conrad commanded the second.
There’s something wrong with second?
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40.)
Jesus ranked the two commandments – loving God is first and loving others is second – but he also made clear they’re inseparable. “All the Law and the Prophets” hang on them. All of the Old Testament. All of the Bible that Jesus and his friends read. All of God’s revelation to his people. All of it on the two of them together.
Here’s another thing about those commandments: loving your neighbor as yourself may come in second in comparison to loving God, but it’s gospel truth that it stands in first place in our relationships with the people God has put in our lives.
Avoiding Second-Besting – is there a right way to love everyone?
So here’s the frustrating part. I know what I like. What I don’t know is whether it’s what other people like.
Here’s what I mean. If you look in the dictionary under introvert, you would see my picture in the margin. What happens then if I, an introvert, try to love an extrovert as I love myself? Because seriously, one big way I care for myself is by getting away from crowds and noise and activity. It’s bliss to me.
Or what about when an extrovert tries to love an introvert as the extrovert loves himself or herself? Invite me to a loud party, a big night out with lots of people? No thanks. I’d more likely run off and find a quiet room to decompress in.*
So I have a few more questions, and I confess that I am looking for answers here, not offering them:
Can others appreciate the type of love we appreciate for ourselves?
Is it hit and miss as to whether they experience this as love or annoyance?
Is it their fault if they don’t appreciate our acts of love? Is it our fault?
How do you do this?
*In fact I have, on occasion. It’s a tactic that did not endear me to one of my college girlfriends. That’s what I got for dating an extrovert.