When He walked the Earth, our all-knowing God was essentially asked to boil success in life down to one thing. He was asked to just give us one principle, that if focused on and passionately pursued, would be the one that would fit ideally for what humans were made for and give them true fulfillment in life. Do you remember what He said?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:36-40)
We’re So Far Off
Loving God and neighbor – two sides of the same coin. Yet, many Christians don’t even know most of their neighbors names. Even for those that do, you never hear about any real distinctions between how Christians and non-Christians treat their neighbors, do you? I surely don’t.
But, it’s hard because it’s the way you and I grew up. Wherever I’ve lived, it’s been mostly understood that neighbors are meant to intermittently be cordial to one another, but should mostly keep to themselves.
The problem is, this mindset makes it virtually impossible to live out what has come to be known as “The Great Commandment.” And if Christians aren’t consistently living THAT out, what in the sam hill are we doing?!?! The answer – we’re mostly living isolated, lonely, intellectual Christian lives.
If that wasn’t enough, then Jesus takes it to a whole new level when He says…
A new command I give to you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34).
It’s one thing to love someone like you love yourself; especially when many of us don’t love ourselves :(. But, to love them like Jesus loves us?!? Whoa!
Turning It Around
So how do we turn this around? The first step is actually getting to know your neighbors. You really can’t love them if you don’t know them. If you try, it will likely be awkward and ineffective. It’ll be like that relative that buys you a Christmas gift you’ll never use because they feel it’s their duty. You’ve got to learn about their problems, passions and perspective to know how to love them effectively.
Giving Yourself a Chance
What’s that? Your schedule is already packed? By the time your days are done, you are too tired to get to know your neighbors? Well sir or madam, I guess you’ve got a choice in front of you.
As you ponder this choice, remember that according to God (who’s quite a genius!) there’s no better way to live than loving God and neighbor.