Today at church we learned about loving your neighbor. If you’ve been to church more than twice in your life, you’ve heard the story about the good semaritan who helped the injured man on the road. Jesus showed how the most important things to focus on are loving God and loving your neighbor – so much so, EVERYTHING that the prophets and laws teach flow from these.
Matt 22:34-40: 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.”
I have never thought about it that way before….that everything Jesus wants us to really DO flows from this. How simple, yet almost impossible to follow! I mean seriously, I can SAY I love my neighbors, but what about that jerk that cut me off on the freeway this morning (without even using his blinker!)? And what about my neighbor that never says hello and keeps their trash can out of the curb for days on end? Or how about those “heathens” in the world that I see everywhere?
It’s simple – I (and we) should love them.
But what is love? Is that praying for them? Is that smiling and saying hello as we pass?
Those are good things, of course! But how about stretching the limits a bit? How about “doing to others as we’d have done to us?” I mean, Jesus said to love others as we love ourselves!
I am by NO MEANS an expert on this! I need to grow so much in this area. It’s easy to be nice to others when they are nice to you. It’s easy to be kind (and generous) when things are going your way. But it’s another story, for me at least, when I don’t really like the other person or things are bad for me. So I am challenging myself in this area – maybe you can use a good challenge, too!
If you have great suggestions on how God is growing you in this area, post a note to let me know!