I never appreciated the Ten Commandments as a teenager because of their negative “do not” wording. “Do not steal. Do not covet your neighbor’s property.” God seemed authoritarian. I cringed at Psalm 119 which says, “Truly I love your commandments more than gold.” How is this possible? It only makes sense when Jesus reminds us that God’s motive is love. We’re commanded to love. And it’s not coming from an authoritarian God but from a friend, the same one who commanded us to wash one another’s feet and not to exclude the widow or the oppressed. Even Ignatius said God is like a friend.

Can we, like Jesus, become friends with the poor? The sinner? The unwanted? Our own annoying families? Are we willing to lay down our lives for them?

The Christian life commands us to risk loving others. And what a beautiful command that is.

Andy Otto, originally from Boston, is currently a high school theology teacher for the Diocese of Sacramento. He also runs the Ignatian blog God In All Things.