Love Your Neighbors Whether They’re “Naughty” or “Nice”
Let’s be real, some people make it easy to love them while others stretch us a little more. (Okay, sometimes a lot more.) It’s usually not hard to love those who are similar to us.
What about the people we disagree with, who have offensive values or customs, or who come from other cultures and backgrounds? How do we treat people who define marriage differently than we do, vote for candidates we cannot condone or draw the boundaries of women’s rights in a way we don’t agree with?
After Jesus told the people to love their neighbors, one smart aleck wanted to know exactly who qualified as his “neighbor” and who didn’t. Perhaps he was really searching for a list of people he could exclude?
Jesus didn’t give him a list. He told him a story. We call that story “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37), and the message is this: Anybody you encounter on your journey through life is your neighbor.
God wants us to love everybody He puts in our path, especially the ones we are tempted to pass by.
Love Those Who Need To Be Loved the Most
Jesus even challenged us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).
There’s nothing noble about loving the lovable. That comes naturally. (Luke 6:32)
The real power happens when we demonstrate God’s love to those who deserve it the least—the very ones who need it the most. That’s when people get a glimpse of the Divine.
Jesus didn’t just talk. He showed us how to get it done. He prayed for and forgave the very men who tortured and killed him (Luke 23:34).
When was the last time you prayed for terrorists? I don’t mean praying for God to obliterate them with precision lightning. I mean praying for God to soften their hearts, open their eyes and reveal His truth? Yeah, me neither.
Are You Good Enough to Pick Up a Rock?
Jesus once stood between an angry self-righteous mob and a terrified woman and told them the sinless one could be the first to throw a stone her direction (John 8:3-11). One by one, the men dropped their rocks and departed knowing they didn’t meet the criteria to be stone-throwers.
Jesus was the only one worthy of picking up a stone and hurling it at the guilty woman, but He left the rock lying on the ground and lifted the woman instead.
How could our world be different if we didn’t pick up a rock that Jesus refused to throw?
What if we really loved like Jesus did? Not in rhetoric or legislation, but by stooping down, reaching out and lifting people up? How could this kind of love transform our homes, neighborhoods, churches, communities, nations, and world?
Our assignment in this world is to love everyone God has made whether they seem lovely to us or not. God adores them; Jesus won’t throw stones at them. What about us?
Let’s set our rocks down. Open our eyes. Let our hearts be broken. And reach out in love to whoever God puts in our path.
This beautiful song by Casting Crowns is a heartfelt prayer set to music. Let your soul soak it up.
Don’t forget to use the hashtags #HWJL & #howwouldjesuslove to spread the word on social media. It’s time to #setrocksdown and #lovelikejesus. I can’t wait to see who God puts in your path so you can send a little Divine Love their direction!
If you missed Part 1 of this message, read The One Question All Christians Musk Ask here.
Who has God put in my path today?
How can I lift them up?