“The one that says, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only God. And you must love him with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. The second is: ‘You must love others as much as yourself.’ No other commandments are greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). The Living Bible
This scripture instructs us about loving God, our neighbor, and ourselves. As we look across a fence or into a window of a neighbor’s house, we think about the space that person occupies and the space that we occupy. We want to keep our privacy yet seem neighborly to them.
At times we do not approve of what our neighbors do and tend to keep our distance. Our neighbor could be a criminal, a victim of AIDS, or a drug addict. Most times we might want to turn away, but God wants our manner to be one of love.
The only persons Jesus ever accused of being horrible sinners were the narrow-minded, hyper-religious people – “a generation of vipers”. What did they do that was so bad? Under the guise of authoritarian religion, they destroyed man’s sense of self-affection and self-worth. Nothing destroys one’s sense of self-respect more than a finger-pointing religious authority that claims to speak in the name of God.
This week when we look into our neighbor’s yard – maybe a neighbor we don’t particularly like – think about Christ and how He loves us – think about how we need to love ourselves – and think about becoming doers of The Word by loving others more than ourselves.
Father, help us to concentrate and pray about where we should be – beside our neighbor. Amen.