By: Garret Larsen
It’s February…which means all the M&M’s are pink and red and your grocery store has pop up tents filled with flowers, stuffed animals, and candy. Love is in the air, but sometimes the world we live in has a totally different perception of love than Jesus does. Today we are going to look at what Jesus said about loving our neighbor.
Mark 12:29-31 says that the most important commandment is to “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.”
Love your neighbor as yourself. I don’t know about you, but it is really easy to love yourself. We all spend a big portion of our lives loving ourselves. Most of us do this without even thinking about it being “love”.
Think about your daily life. If you are hungry, you eat something. If you are thirsty, you drink something. If you are tired, you go to sleep. If you are bored, you entertain yourself somehow. If you are cold, you put on more clothes. If you are dirty, you wash yourself. If a car is coming towards you, you step out of the way.
These seem like really basic things, but by doing them, you’re showing yourself love. So when Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, he’s asking us to show concern for others like we do for ourselves.
Jesus loves us and wants us to love Him AND love the people around us. Today, I’d like to challenge you with some practical ways you can live out loving your neighbor.
Serve someone, even when it’s not convenient. This can be as simple as taking out the trash, mowing someone’s lawn, or helping your child or sibling with their homework.
Be patient and give people the benefit of the doubt. This may look like being conscious of your tone of voice with your kids, spouse, or friends and assuming the best in people.
Be nice to one another. Even if someone is difficult, responding in a loving way can diffuse a lot of hard situations.
Forgive one another because God forgave you. Extend grace to people and forgive those who have wronged you.
Encourage one another. Take the time to encourage someone in your life today. Tell your child that you are proud of them, for who they are not just for what they do. Thank your spouse for doing tasks that they always do, whether it’s the laundry, paying the bills, or wrangling kids all day. Look for ways to affirm the people in your life.
Pray for one another. Ask people how you can pray for them, then do it! You can even send them a text of the prayer you prayed for them.
Let’s be love towards the people we come in contact with and display a love that comes from Christ alone.
Talk about it:
Who is someone in your life that is hard to love? How can you extend love to them this week?
Who is someone you can encourage this week? Write them a note or shoot them a text now.
How can you serve someone you come in contact with this week?
Pray Together: Lord, thank you for the example you give us of how to love others. Give us the grace we need to show others your love in a tangible way. Help us be love to those around us and to those who are hurting. In your name we pray, AMEN.