Loving My Neighbor

Living in the Word, pages 145-146
(Every Saturday for a few weeks I will shamelessly promote by posting an excerpt. I will rest Sunday and resume postings Mondays.)

You ask, why should I care about a bunch of infidel fanatics who are trying to blow up my country and kill me? These are my enemies. Or the illegal immigrants. Or the White, Black, Asian or Hispanic. Or this man or that woman.

No. Moslems are not your enemy. None of those people are your enemy.

Satan is your enemy. (Not even the world or your flesh. Those are the means by which Satan attacks you.) Those other people are under attack, just as you are.

Gerri Dickens said, “You can’t experience joy until you love your enemy.” Are you experiencing joy?

But, you say, they are my enemy.

No, they are your neighbor. Yes, some of them are still slaves to sin and the sin nature, but so are some of you. And white, black, yellow, red or brown, God loves him or her just as much as he loves you. They’re your neighbor.

What part of loving your neighbor as yourself do you not understand?

Ten separate times the command to “love your neighbor as yourself ” from Leviticus 19:18 is repeated in the New Testament. Six of those times are on the lips of Jesus. Do you imagine he considers this important? But, you say, they don’t deserve my love. Isn’t that the whole point? Even if they don’t deserve or desire God’s love and blessing, he loves them anyway—just as he loves us.

God doesn’t love you based on your merit or even your need. God loves you because he is God. And you should love these others because they’re your neighbor. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates who our neighbor is. (Luke 10: 30-36)
It’s the one who sees a need and fills it.

The hero of that parable didn’t just help a stranger, he helped someone who probably hated him. First century Jews would travel extra days traveling from Galilee to Judea just to avoid walking through Samaria. Remember the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-26)? She couldn’t believe a Jew would condescend to drink water she had drawn.

Jesus loves them and commands us to love them likewise.

(All Bible references are from the Holy Bible New International Version ® NIV ® Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved.)


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