Love Your Neighbor

Love Your Neighbor

     One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’There is no commandment greater than these.”
                                                                                       Mark 12:28-31
             

               As a Christian, you are called, to keep God first. To love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. God is calling for complete commitment, loyalty and your love. When you think about all that Jesus did for you and all His people on the Cross, the Blood sacrifice, His atonement and laying down His life, so that you could have life now and eternally, it is impossible to not be grateful. How could you not love your Savior, Jesus Christ, after He has shown you His love, and granted you, His mercy, and grace?

               Jesus is making the declaration, that if you truly love Him, you will extend that love to your brother and sister – your neighbor. Who is your neighbor? All of God’s breath – your family, friends, strangers, fellow employees, all who are created in God’s image. That is a selfless and absolute command. Jesus is calling for you to see His people as He does, His children, the apple of His eye, and His righteousness.

               The reality is all people are not going to be kind, loving and warm, when they meet you. Sometimes, they will go from being friendly to toxic, backbiting and even hate you. Remember, Jesus said, they hated Him first and there will be those who hate you. God is still calling for you to be the light in the world, He has called you to be, and not to be baited by evil, but to continue to be His example and walk in love and peace. Now as a Christian, you are not perfect and you will at times fall short, and sin. However, that is why we all have a Savior, who is faithful to forgive our sins, when we repent. It is important to live as an obedient Christian and be guided and led by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Be intentional in your words and actions, pray, seek God’s guidance and refuse to be baited by anyone who is trying to cause confusion and dwell in chaos.

               Everyone is not going to love you and you are not going to love and like everyone. However, the goal is to ask God to give you a heart for His people. It is easy to love and be kind to the people who love you. The challenge and victory come from loving those, who are difficult, argumentative, and unkind. Jesus allowed the one who would betray Him, Judas, to still be in His inner circle, although He knew Judas was deceitful and the catalyst, and would betray Him with a kiss, so that the soldiers would arrest Him. Jesus never argued with Judas, nor tried to prove His sovereignty. He still showed love to Judas, in spite of His betrayal of Christ.

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               Some people don’t love themselves and can’t extend what they don’t have for themselves. However, all human beings want to be treated with respect and to be loved. If you are that person, ask Christ to give you a heart of compassion and love for yourself and others. Follow the example of Your Savior, walk in love. Walk in the fruits of the spirit - love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). When you share these gifts with yourself and others, you will Love your neighbor as yourself, and receive the blessings of God, who loves you beyond words. Amen

Be blessed always,

Pastor Tracey