Scripture admonishes us to “…love your neighbor as yourself.” This is found in Matthew 22:39 as well as in other New Testament sites, and even in Leviticus in the Old Testament, so it must be pretty important.
But how is this loving my neighbor to be demonstrated?
When I lived in Kentucky, I was an EMT and first responder with the local rescue squad. Many were the “inconvenient” calls – while in the shower, when I had just gotten to sleep, when supper was hot off the stove – you name it, that’s when the call came. I could sleep through many sounds, but the pager? Never! Responding to those many calls was loving my neighbor.
At this stage of life, I must find other approaches such as praying for someone with a special need, sharing food, extending friendship in whatever form I can.
But those who are my neighbors have manifested the “love your neighbor” directive by cleaning up the limbs still littering my yard since that ice storm several weeks ago.
The limbs made an unsightly mess. One was still attached to the tree from which it had fallen. The man who lives directly next door asked if he could finish cutting it and use the wood. Could he? With my thanks and delight! He worked on the mess but hadn’t finished yet. Also, there were several large pine limbs which could only be burned outside. Those needed to be taken care of, too.
I had collected a couple of names of people I thought might do the job but had net yet made the call.
Then on a very blustery day, two other individuals showed up on my porch.
“We wondered if it would be alright if we cleaned up the limbs and branches.”
“Alright? More than alright! It would be greatly appreciated! But why? Why do you want to do this?
“Because we’re neighbors,” was their response. And they set to work right then. They had anticipated my acceptance and had come prepared to do the work, even in winds that nearly tipped me over that day.
Both are instances of truly loving your neighbor.
The scriptural command is to all of us, and yet we see so little of that love. Let’s make a point of demonstrating the love of Christ through loving our neighbors.
It isn’t hard, and isn’t rocket science.
It may be as simple as giving another driver opportunity to get in the line of traffic during rush hour or allowing extra room at an intersection so a semi truck driver can safely and more easily make his turn.
Just watch. There are multitudes of ways to show Jesus to others by loving your neighbor.