Message posted April 2, 2008 – “Love Thy Neighbor”
Today's message has to do with having love in your heart, and how to spread goodness through your understanding of this concept. I have met many people who profess to be a good Christian, but you would never know this if you watched them as they go through their daily routine. They are impatient, belittle people, yell at people, make fun of people, and seem to have no time for anybody but themselves or others that they will use to get ahead in life. Even though they claim to be Christian, they show no kindness, no compassion, no sympathy and no understanding. They talk, but they don't listen. They accept compliments but won't accept blame. They will take credit, but not give credit when credit is due.
Do you know someone like this? Are you like this?
Let's turn to the Bible and see what The Word can teach us about love. True Christian love means accepting the faults of others and loving them for it. True Christian love means thinking of others before we think of ourselves. It means helping others without being asked. It means trying to bring out the best in people we meet. It means listening to what others have to share, not boasting about our own greatness.
Selected Bible readings:
(There are many references to this topic, so I have copied the text from the Bible so you won't have to take the time to locate all the scripture. Please explore your favorite readings on your own by reading more from each chapter referred to.)
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, Than a fatted calf with hatred.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,’ Says the LORD.”
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you . . "
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
1 Corinthians 13:2
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:4
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 16:14
Let all that you do be done with love.
1 Thessalonians 5:13
and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
1 Peter 4:8
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 5:14
Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
1 John 2:10
He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
1 John 3:11
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another . .
1 John 4:8
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:21
And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
2 John 1:6
This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Now, to prove that all this means something to you, here is what I want you to do. At least once a day, every day, I want you to make some person happy through an act of kindness. If one of your coworkers is dressed especially nice today, tell them how nice they look or how you like the way they are dressed. If someone just got a hair cut or style, tell them how nice it looks. If someone got a new pair of shows, tell them how nice the shoes look. If someone around you is making people smile, tell them how much you like to see them spreading happiness. If someone pays you a compliment, pay them one back. If someone yells at you, say something like "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you." If you see someone who needs help, help them. If you see someone skipping lunch because they don't have the money to pay for lunch, offer to buy lunch for that person. If you feel yourself getting ready to criticize or scold someone, try to correct their mistake in such a way that they can feel how much you care for them. Smile and say hello to people that you would normally ignore. Once you get used to doing this, you will find it very easy to come up with new ways to make people happy.
When you make an effort to bring happiness in to someone's life, you will be amazed how much this means to the other person. You can turn somebody's bad day into a great day. You can change loneliness into a feeling of belonging. You can change despair and gloom into happiness and excitement. Such a small action on your part can mean more than you will ever know to the other person. And when you go to bed at night, I want you think to yourself that you made someone's day a little brighter.
Once you see how good this makes you feel, try to get other people you know to act the same way. Help spread the message!