Loving Your Neighbor

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’  “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40).

As I was reading through John Piper’s What Jesus Demands from the World, the overwhelming and staggering nature of Jesus’ second commandment to “love our neighbor as yourself” sinks in. Piper explains it this way:

The second commandment seems to me to be an overwhelming commandment. It seems to demand that I tear the skin off my body and wrap it around another person so that I feel that I am that other person; and all the longings that I have for my own safety and health and success and happiness I now feel for that other person as though he were me. It is an absolutely staggering commandment. If this is what it means, then something unbelievably powerful and earth shaking and reconstructing and overturning and upending will have to happen in our souls. Something supernatural. Something well beyond what self-preserving, self-enhancing, self-exalting, self-esteeming, self-advancing, fallen human beings like me can do on their own.

I’ve got a long way to go in loving my neighbor. But I’m moving in the right direction because I know I can’t “naturally” love this kind of way. It takes God’s Spirit to transform my heart to live, look, and love like Jesus does. It takes the God’s Spirit to help me see my neighbors the way He sees my neighbors. It takes God’s Spirit to empower and encourage me to share Jesus’ gospel with them. How are you doing with Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself”?

3 Replies to “Loving Your Neighbor”

  1. What helps me in loving my neighbor as myself is to listen first. So often I make the mistake of pushing all my thoughts out to someone never knowing their story. I find that genuine listening connects me and gives opportunity to know what is important to them.
    Where are they hurting? What gives their life importance?
    When Jesus “hung out” with the riff-raff, I think He may have been connecting to them and loving them – not just preaching AT them.
    Once I understand more about my neighbor, I feel more prepared to love them as myself.

    1. alan… i was reading matthew 7:12 & 22:40 today. the command(s) to love God and love others is rooted in God’s great love for us and evidenced by our love for God and for others. so i agree with you, when I love my neighbor, I want to know them for whom God created them to be. and when I focus on that, I love them for who they are while still praying that they would know and experience the great love of God.

  2. The Piper quote is tremendously challenging! I also like this quote from Dallas Willard on Biblical love: “…the genuine inner readiness and longing to secure the good of others.”

    The “inner readiness”, keeping my heart ready and positioned to love. The “longing”, never giving up on or turning my back on or writing people off no matter how unjust or hurtful or neglectful they may be towards me. Always being ready, longing, open, desiring, praying for opportunities for reconciliation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *