Thursday, April 28, 2016

Do I really have to love my neighbor?

Loving others is a repeated command in the Bible. I think it's repeated because we are so prone to forget. We wake up with good intentions to love others and then we get stuck in traffic and end up flipping off the car next to us. We enter the office with good intentions of being kind to our co-workers but someone doesn't complete a part of the project and we think oh how we'd like to strangle them. We enter our home with good intentions of loving our family but our selfishness gets in the way. In the book of Romans Paul gives this instruction to the church in Rome:
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10
It makes perfect sense for Paul to instruct the church in love. Over time Christ followers can grow inward and forget about loving their neighbor. Just think about that real quick. When as the last time you actively loved your neighbor? We all know neighbors can be difficult. We can also be difficult neighbors. Some of you have neighbors, in your apartment building, who play the music too loud. Instead of loving them you curse them. You may have a neighbor who allows her dog to do its business in your front yard. What about that neighbor who always park in front of your house when it is clearly your space! These are just a few examples.

Loving your neighbors can be a tricky thing. You see this in Scripture but don’t always apply it. Let me share a few ways you can actively love your neighbor this week.

1)  Smile at them
Smiles break down walls.

2)  Introduce yourself to them
Start out by learning their name. This helps to make them a real person who is known and loved.

3) Engage them in a conversation
When you see them in the hallway, outside or walking on the sidewalk. Its amazing where God can lead unplanned conversations with your neighbor.

4) Think of ways to serve them
Think of what would be meaningful to them and then do it!

You have to start somewhere in loving your neighbor, why not start today? If you are a Christ follower you are not given an option on loving others. I resonate with what C.S. Lewis says on this topic, “Do not waste time bothering whether you "love" your neighbor; act as if you did.”

You may not want to love your neighbor. You may have valid reasons not to love your neighbor. If you are a Christian, you are commanded to love your neighbor so start acting like you do.

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