Love is to be directed first to God If we wish to understand love in its true scriptural foundations, we must set before us (and understand) the following truth:
Love should be directed to God, before anyone or anything else This is what God revealed to us in the Book of Deutoronomy: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Bit 6:5).
So then, if this love to God is from the whole heart, is there any room left for any other love? How can we love anything else, if the whole heart is for God?! The only answer is that our love for everyone and everything is through our love for God.
When we have given the whole heart to God, within our love to God, we love everyone. That is why when asked about the greatest commandment, Christ replied, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Mt 22:37-39).
Why did He say, “The second is like it”? Because it is through the love of God… It is part of it… It is not separate from the first commandment.. Hence, any love outside of the love of God is a sinful love. What if this (second) love was greater than out love for God?! Our Lord answers us saying, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Mt 10:37).
Any love that is greater than the love of God, prefers a person or a thing more than God Himself. We can therefore label it as “A sinful love”, because it interferes with the love of God. It is a love that is stronger than the love of God!!! Is that appropriate?!
In this situation, the whole heart is not given to God (and hence breaks the first commandment). This “sinful love” becomes a “stranger” in your heart. A stranger never dwells in one place forever. If you want to love someone or something forever, make sure this love is through the love of God; i.e. fulfill the first commandment first, and then you will be able to include the second love through your love to God…
By: Pope Shenouda III