Love your neighbor
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:14
In this verse, Paul says that in loving your neighbor as yourself, you are fulfilling the requirement of the whole law. (That is everything that is required under the old covenant) This brings me to the question how do I “love my neighbor as myself”? It has always been something hard for me to grasp. Almost like a vapor, very cloudy, because I think I didn’t feel it was attainable or I just didn’t know how. Then God showed me a practical way to view my neighbor so I would know how to love them with the God kind of love. When I see my neighbor, I see myself. If I see my neighbor struggling with something, what would I do if it were myself or what would I want someone to do for me if I was the one struggling with the same thing? If I see my neighbor rejoicing about something, how would I want others to rejoice with me if I were celebrating something?
Now that I looked at it from this angle, it seemed very simple to understand, but not so simple to follow through. The first thing to identify is, who is my neighbor? Is it those who live next door to me or in my neighborhood? What if I live in the country and don’t have anyone living close to me? Secondly, how do I know what to do to “love” them? In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan to illustrate loving your neighbor as yourself. In this parable, there were strangers who passed by a man that had fallen among thieves, and yet He calls the man who showed mercy his neighbor. The Samaritan didn’t even know the guy and he certainly didn’t live next door to him. I also want to make the point that this was not a fellow believer, this was a dirty, hurting, dying, helpless, and hopeless sinner. The point is that anyone you can do good for is your neighbor.
The last thing I want to consider is why does God want me to love my neighbor as myself? Is it only to make rules for me to keep me in line? Is it to make me look like a good person? No, the reason is to show others the very heart of God! The only way others can know God is if they see His heart in our actions. The other part of that is, we can see God’s heart in action when we are showing it to others. If you want to see a great act of God, then watch it play out in your love for your “neighbor”.
Today and every day I encourage you to look for those God will send across your path to “love” as you love yourself and do good to them as you would do for yourself. Let your actions toward others reflect the heart of God’s love for them.
Today’s scripture reading: Galatians 5:7-15