How to love your neighbor

This Sunday, staff intern Michael Edgar led us through a meditation on the parable of the Good Samaritan. He reminded us of some important truths and some practical advice for how to live out one of Christ's greatest commandments -- to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Who is our neighbor?

The word for neighbor in Jesus's time didn't have to do with proximity; it had more to do with family. "Neighbor" is another way of saying "brother" or "sister." But, as we know from the story of the good Samaritan, Jesus wasn't telling us to love only those closest to us by blood or friendship. The Samaritan was not only a stranger to the Jewish man he helped, he would have been thought of as his enemy. Our neighbor is our brother, sister, and friend, but more crucially, our neighbor is the one who has wronged us, who has disenfranchised us, who has marginalized us. Our neighbor is the other, and Christ commands us to love the wholly other in the same way that we would love ourselves. 

How can I love my neighbor?

In talking through the story of the Good Samaritan, Michael highlighted several practical ways we can show love to those God calls our neighbor:

  • Meet their needs (physical or otherwise)
  • Show them mercy
  • Give graciously, without any regard for what they may "deserve" in our limited judgment
  • Pray for those outside our reach and for opportunities to show love
  • Follow through in boldness when opportunities to show love arise

Questions to Consider:

  • What "neighbors" has God placed in my life who I may be reluctant to love?
  • How can I show love in practical ways to those neighbors?
  • Do others in my life have needs that it is in my power to meet?
  • Am I withholding help and love for someone because I believe they don't deserve it? If so, am I willing to pray and change in this area?

Listen to the whole sermon here and read other sermon notes here.