August 5, 2021

Be Encouraged: It’s not difficult to fulfill the greatest commandment.

“The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

When we distinguish loving as showing kindness from loving as affection we can see how easy it becomes to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus defined neighbor as being everyone around us, not just those in close proximity to us. That would mean our neighbor includes those we have no personal interest in or relationship with as well as those we know personally, live in close proximity to, or care about with great affection. Our neighbor is not only next door but in another state or as far away as another part of the world.

As I completed a shopping trip recently and stood outside the market waiting for my husband to pull up to the curb, a young woman offered to help me unload my cart. I thanked her for her kindness and told her my husband would do it. For that instant I was her neighbor, and she was willing to extend a kindness to me. It did not require her knowing me personally or having any affection for me, simply that I was someone who looked as though I needed a hand.

When we love our neighbor as ourselves, we look for and seize opportunities to extend kindness to others. With each generation we can see how God has made loving our neighbor easier and easier. In these difficult times we can do something as simple as wearing a mask or becoming vaccinated to help ourselves and others stay well and safe from disease. We can send a check or use a cash app to help someone in need who does not live nearby. We can contribute or donate to a worthy charity that helps the sick, the hungry, homeless or the poor. We can do something as simple as rolling someone’s garbage can up their driveway after the trash truck has passed. None of these activities require we know people personally or have affection for them, but simply a desire to be good neighbors, no matter how far away we live, have a desire to fulfill one of the greatest commandments Jesus gave. Let’s Pray,   

Dear God, I worship you for who you are and adore all of your ways. I confess the times I have missed showing love to my neighbor when it was within my means to do so and thank you for bringing it to my attention today, reminding me how incredibly easy it is to show kindness to others. Because you sent your precious Son Jesus to me as a sign of your love for me, I am sealed in every promise you have made over me and because Jesus showed me how easy it is to love our neighbor, I can now do likewise. Amen

Affirming Activity:

Whom will you show love to just as you love yourself, today?

How will you fulfill one of the greatest commandments of loving your neighbor and at the same time incorporate it into your plan of self-care?               

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