Love Your Neighbor(*)

Do you have an asterix on this most important commandment?

Think about it. Really think about it. I am quite sure you will find an asterix somewhere. We like to think we don’t have them, but they are there. If we didn’t, we would be perfect. And we are not. Yet God asks us to do this. How can he expect us as imperfect human beings, to love like only he can?

Well, he says, “lose your life to find it.” If we allow him to basically live his life through us, we can love like he does because we allow him to love through us. This requires surrender on our part.

I remember what I was like before I came to know God. I was prejudiced, bigoted, racist, judgemental of everyone. I was blind. I literally grew up in a town known as “white island”. It was well known in the area.

And I also remember when I gave my life to Christ, how all of that dissipated fairly quickly. I started to see people, all people, with the “eyes of God”. I can remember going to the grocery store, looking into the faces of random people, and beginning to cry! I could feel their pain, see their hearts, sense their brokenness, regardless of their color, or any of the other points listed above.

I thought to myself… “what’s happening to me?” It was good of course, but I had never experienced such love for people… anybody! It makes me think of the Grinch when his heart turned around. Remember, he said when he was shedding tears over the Who’s who had hurt him, “I’m Leaking!!”

It’s a wonderful and freeing thing to have God set you free from such angry self righteous judgement. My eyes were opened for the first time and it was life transforming. In fact, it was a part of a transformation that would change the entire trajectory of my life. The “old” me never would have thought about working with the poor, and homeless. But I left it all behind and did that for 27 years and taught others the same thing.

I no longer had a pronounced asterix on “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 12:10-20 (MSG)

“Help needy people; be inventive in hospitality. 14 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. 15 Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. 16 Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. 17 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. 18 get along with everybody. 19 Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” 20  if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink.”

In order to “make friends with nobodies”, I need to realize that I too, am nobody. God is not a respecter, or discriminator of people, and neither shall I be, buy his grace.

BH

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