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Love thy neighbor

Well, It’s another Sunday morning. I’m having my second cup of coffee and thinking back to when life wasn’t so complicated. When an election was run on the qualities of a candidate rather than who did less wrong. When the debates in the barber shop didn’t end up in gun fire. When it was safe for your child to walk to school or for you to leave your windows open at night and your doors were never locked. A time when being a neighbor meant more than you lived next door to someone. When the passage in Mark 12:31, “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” actually meant something to people. I often wonder what would happen if the average person would just tell all the strangers they have contact with that they love them. Would you get reported to the authorities? Would you lose your job? What would happen if you walked up to the person setting next to you in a restaurant and told them that you love them? 

dictionary.com defines ‘neighbor’ as this: a person who lives near another. A person or thing that is near another or as a fellow human being. A person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans, or (Used as a term of address, especially as a friendly greeting to a stranger) “Hi, neighbor.”  Then by these standards and what is written in Matthew 22:39, ”And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It would be correct and fair to tell others we love them.

So, how would you be received? How would the neighbor feel about you expressing your love for them?  Well, I guess it is all in how you present it to them. If you are telling them in a creepy way expect the police to show up pretty quick. If you are genuine with your approach you might be surprised at how you are received. Romans 13:10 tells us this: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

See, if we don’t use this powerful tool God gave us, we are not doing as God wants and following what has been set out before us. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 tells us this: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  If we do not express to others the love Christ has for us and them, we are not following the Father’s will and in his eyes we are failing. We are not serving as we are supposed to be. I have said it before we are not to wait on the LORD, we are to be waiters for the LORD. We have a job, we are to share the word by living it out. We are to love as Christ would love. Our walk is supposed to be an emulation of Christ Jesus walk. We will fall short, we will fail, but we are to try to do our best.

Sharing love by expressing it to others is not easy at first. In fact it is awkward and uncomfortable. For some of us it can be down right embarrassing. But we must trudge onward and continue what Christ Jesus set out before us. In 1 John 4: 15-19 we read this truth: “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.

So, we should not fear what we are to do, we are to love as we are loved. We are to share our love with our neighbor. We are to do this in word or deed. This is how we are to serve our great LORD and Savior, to love as He loves. So, here is our challenge for this week and forever more share your love, tell people they are loved. Show them in word and deed that Christ’s love flows from you.  Start today, it’s easy. Here let me start it off for all of us, Please know and remember that God loves each and every one of you and so do I.

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