Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How to Love Your Neighbor - Part 1

Who's my neighbor?

Welcome to this new series on my blog! I'm so glad you're here and hope you'll take a  moment to say
"hi." This new series is simply inspired by God and some questions I believe He prompted me to ask myself. My brain is always going, and this time I'm actually getting some of these thoughts down on paper (er, computer). I hope they are a blessing to you and draw you closer to the Lord.

Who is my neighbor? And how do I love them? Click to tweet

This question - who is my neighbor - was asked by a lawyer to Jesus. He was trying to justify himself to the Lord. (Notice how this never worked? Wait. Don't we do the same? Gulp. Okay, moving on.)

The man wanted to know who he was supposed to love. He was looking to earn his way into heaven and seemed okay with the greatest commandments of loving God and loving his neighbor. But I'm guessing he felt his neighbor didn't include EVERYONE.

I've always wondered about Jesus' answer to this quesion - who is my neighbor. He tells a story about a man beaten and robbed, who ignored the injured man, and who helped him. Then Jesus asks, "Who do you think proved to be a neighbor?" (paraphrased) It seems like Jesus would have focused on the man that needed help in being the neighbor to love, but instead, he shifts the focus to the Samaritan (who would have been abhored by a Jewish person) - the person doing the loving action.

While the lawyer was trying to find out who he needed to love, Jesus pointed him to the fact that when we love, we become a neighbor. However, another thought struck me as I mulled over this lesson. The neighbor in need of love (the man beaten and robbed) was a stranger. The Samaritan "just happened" to cross paths with him. And chose to take notice of him. Chose to help him. To love him as he loved himself. To love him radically.

To love our neighbor as ourself means to love them radically. But who is our neighbor? Click to tweet

Does that mean we are to love everyone who crosses our paths? Yes.

That means we are to love our spouse - radically.

Love our children - radically.

Love our in-laws - radically.

Love our extended family - radically.

Love our actual neighbors - radically.

Love the grocery store clerk - radically.

Love our pastors - radically.

Love our coworkers - radically.

Love those we go to church with - radically.

Get the picture? I am getting it, and if I'm completely honest, it scares me. Because I know how very far short I fall of this.

I do love the people in my life, but usually in easy ways that don't really cost me anything. I'm not really good at stopping my progress, pausing my agenda, noticing the needy person on the ground and loving them radically. Loving them in a way that costs me. Costs me my comfort. Costs me my schedule. Costs me emotional investment.

I don't do this well. But the goal of this journey, of digging into this question of how to love my neighbor, is to do it better. To get my flesh under submission and surrender to God. To not only think about doing radically loving things, but to actually do them.

Now that we know that everyone who crosses our path in this life is our neighbor, next we will examine what it means to love them radically.

I hope you'll join me on this journey! I look forward to hearing what God reveals to you and works in your life as you pursue Him and living His way.

What does it look like to pursue God and live His way? Click to tweet

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