Perhaps you’ve had this conversation with God before. You get along with most of your literal neighbors, but there’s just that one who gets on your last nerve. The one who lets their dog do his business in your yard without cleaning it up. Or the one who blares loud music at 1:00 a.m. when you’re trying to catch some sleep.
Why bother, right?
God didn’t suggest that you love them, he commanded it. And that’s not just the literal neighbors he was referring to. The creator of every man, woman, and neighbor thought it important enough to label it the “second most important” commandment, implying that we are to love others (ALL others) as we love ourselves, and to let that follow our loving him with everything we have.
Simple instructions: Love God. Love others. However, in our flesh we struggle to do that daily. We allow our friends, family members, and even strangers to offend us. Our first instinctual reaction is not a loving one, is it?
Just recently, I found myself offended and struggling to forgive three “neighbors.” Thankfully, God reminded me I don’t have a choice.
Though you and I repeatedly sin, God still loves us and forgives us. Because we love him, we must follow his commands and truthfully, when we do, loving others becomes much easier.
Father, thank you for making your instruction about love so simple. Thank you that your Spirit enables us to love as you love. Help us to have your vision and your heart as we communicate with our neighbors. In your holy name, Amen.
Go Deeper — Make a list of those in your inner circle (including literal neighbors) who you need to forgive. Ask God to open a door so that you can show them your love despite your negative feelings. Ask him to give you his eyes to see them as he does, and to love them as he does. Pray about taking a step toward reconciliation today, trusting the Spirit to give you all you need to obey.
Read Further ― If forgiveness doesn’t come easy for you, as it doesn’t for most of us, read Getting Rid of All Bitterness.
Photo Credit: Jean Lakosnyk