Love Your Neighbor

 

Mark 12:31 instructs us to love our neighbor as ourselves. One of the greatest commandments in The Bible—to love another individual, someone in passing, someone we don’t know, as much and as sacrificial as we love ourselves.

When I’ve read this in passing, I sigh and think oh, yes. Of course I’m supposed to treat people the way I would want to be treated. Mom always said that, right? Of course you’re supposed to lie down your life for those you love. But what about those we don’t know, or rather, know and don’t love?

Somewhere between world tragedies and political scandals and justice movements, we lose sight of love and genuine compassion for individuals. We lose sight that while we disagree or maybe dislike others’ ideas and ways, hey, Jesus died for them, too. Jesus loves them just as much as He loves us. If we truly believe all sins are equal and covered by the cross, I think we would have a much easier job of being able to love people we disagree with. We are not loved more or less based on good works, yet we directly love others more or less based on whether we deem what they are doing as good or bad.

Regardless of whether you think we should accept Syrian refugees or if you believe the ISIS terrorists are damned for eternity, there is a specific calling in The Bible, and it’s not an easy one. I don’t think it means there is always one clear-cut correct answer, but I do think it means we are called to be above the mold. We are called to a higher standard than social media trashing and turning tragic events into political turmoil. We are called to be better than dirty looks and forced soft smiles because we treat ourselves better than that.

We are lavished and loved and have infinite worth because of who we are in Jesus Christ. And we are called to lavish others in that love because odds are, the kid that shoved you down in the hallway isn’t aware that he’s been forgiven. The boyfriend that cheated on you and the girl that you think is easy may not know where their eternal value should be found. We are dirty, dirty sinners. We are liars and cheaters, but it is a lot easier to look at other liars and cheaters on the news and point our fingers at them. It’s easier to stand with the crowd and throw slander, than to look in the mirror and be acutely aware of the uncanny resemblance.

However, while we are dirty, dirty sinners, we are also loved and cherished and clean through Him who cleanses. We are called to be above the mold because the highest of them has come down to us. Love your neighbor. Respect your differences. Rejoice in the darkness. We can praise Him because we are clean, and we will serve Him because we desire others to know that.