Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Be a Good Neighbor

Chuckle: Fun with the English language. "If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth, why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth!"
Quote: "It is His long-term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love -- a charity and gratitude for all selves including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbors as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as neighbors." --C.S. Lewis

"Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God's law" (Romans 13:8-10 NLT). Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39 NIV).
Dotse and I are thankful for our wonderful neighbors. They are kind, thoughtful, considerate, and loving people who are always eager to be of help to us. We love them dearly and do our best to reflect the love of Christ in our relationship with them. It's easy to love neighbors like these. But not everyone is so easily loved.
We know that Jesus gave His disciples, and us, a new commandment that we should love our fellow Christians not as we love ourselves, but as He has loved us (John 13:34-35). He gave us a new standard for how we should love our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, to love your non-believing neighbor as yourself remains a valid instruction throughout Scripture. Let's think about who is our neighbor, how we should love him/her, and what will be the result of our love for our neighbors.
When asked, "who is my neighbor?," Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan to make the point that everyone is our neighbor and we are to be good neighbors to everyone no matter their age, background, sex, race, or social status. It's easy for us to categorize people into groups, some of whom we find easy to love and others whom we are more comfortable excluding from our love.
Our relationships with others are to be built on the foundation of unconditional love. Our fellowship with others can only be maintained and strengthened in love; and our service to others is to be motivated by love. When we love our neighbors as we love ourselves, any prejudice or ill will harbored toward them will disappear. We will apply the Golden Rule concept to our relationships and treat others the way we want to be treated.
According to 1 John 4:20, it is impossible for us to truly love God without loving our fellow human beings. But we are often tempted to love and relate only to people who look, think, talk, act, and maybe even smell like us. But God does not give us the option of discriminating when it comes to loving our neighbors as ourselves. No one should be outside our circle of love. They certainly are not outside the circle of God's love.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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