“The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
When my grandparents were raising their family, almost every house had a front porch. The porch was a place of community. Families and neighbors would spend hours relaxing and sharing life. Today, there are few front porches. And, if a house has one, the residents very seldom sit out and visit with each other or their neighbors. In most neighborhoods today, people pull up to their house, open the garage door automatically and pull their vehicle inside, not to step foot outside the rest of the day. Do you know your neighbor’s names? Would you know if they are struggling? Jesus commands us to love our neighbors. So, is that limited to just the people who live near us? Absolutely not.
Jesus’ words were not a suggestion but a command. We are not just to love others. It would have been one thing for Jesus to stop there but He added “as yourself” which takes things to a new level. The Golden Rule says: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Everyone wants to be loved. So, in return, we must be willing to love.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: who has time to love and minister to people? We’re busy! How easy it is to fall back on this well-worn excuse of being busy to keep from loving others. But, we simply must fight to not allow our personal agendas to interfere with meeting the needs of others.
Does this verse mean I have to love difficult people? Jesus goes so far to say that we are to love our enemies. As believers, we do not have the option of holding onto bitter feelings, resentment, or even hatred toward anyone. To do so goes against everything Jesus taught.
We teach our children that name calling is not acceptable and to be kind to your friends. Maybe we need to take heed to some of own teaching and apply these to our grown-up life.
How can you show love to someone today? Make a point this week to get to know at least one of your neighbors.