Do you think that you can pick and choose who you want to love? Do you think you can toss aside those not selected? Think again! As Christians, we are called to love, serve and forgive everyone. That is neighborly love! However, given our human weaknesses, that’s a tall order! Yet, as followers of Christ, it is a mantle we must take upon ourselves. Christ asks much of us, but with his command to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39), He gives us the grace needed to fulfill His desire.
Who is Your Neighbor?
Although I have the best next-door neighbors (Mike and Carolyn), they alone are not the only ones that Christ calls me to love. When Christ says “Love your neighbor” He is referring to every person that crosses your path. He is not asking you to form a friendly bond with every human being, but He is asking you to respect every person you meet; to treat each person with the degree of kindness that you would want to be treated. That is the practice of neighborly love.
What Does Neighborly Love Entail?
We live in a world where gossip, slander and libel run rampant and unchecked. Common decency would tell us to refrain from such behavior. Neighborly love requires exertion of common decency toward others. Rather than speaking ill of others, we need to show respect. And let’s be real – sometimes that’s difficult to do. Nevertheless, we must try. As I write this post, I am reminded of some wise words my mother drilled into me, repeatedly. “When you can’t find anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Perhaps silence is the best way to start in changing our behavior; moving us toward truly loving our neighbor.
From the silence, we allow the Holy Spirit to work within us, showing us ways to demonstrate respect, kindness, and a means to follow Christ’s command to “love your neighbor.”
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