4 Practical Ways To Show Love To Your Neighbor
Here are 4 practical and biblical ways to show love to your neighbor.
Who is Your Neighbor?
The first question is “Who is my neighbor?” Is it always the person that lives right next door, on your side of the street? No, it is whoever you encounter in your life. Jesus never mentioned a geographical location as the qualification of who are neighbor is. In fact, our neighbor, as far as Jesus’ teaching, may not be the person living next door but the person you run into anywhere you find yourself in life. When the young rich ruler sought to justify himself by asking Jesus the question “Who is my neighbor” (Luke 10:29). Jesus gives the answer that most would have never come up with on their own and certainly a Samaritan as the “neighbor” who gave help to the injured person who had been robbed (Luke 10:33) would have been the last person that the Jews would have ever expected to offer help. To even consider a Samaritan as a neighbor was inconceivable not to mention calling them a neighbor that they should love as themselves because the Jews despised the Samaritans and considered them half-breeds. The two Jews who should have been the most likely to offer help (a Levite and a priest) went out of their way to avoid the injured man (Luke 10:31-32) but the one they considered the least likely to help is the very one who did (Luke 10:33), so Jesus asks the Jews “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:36-37).
Loving Them as Yourself
Jesus said that the two greatest commandments are these; “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 first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37-39) so what’s it look like to show love to your neighbor? Let me first ask you this for your consideration: How do we show love for ourselves? For one thing, we care for our own bodies, we make sure we have proper nutrition, we make sure that we have a bed to sleep in, we make sure our heating and air conditioning works, and in general, we make sure that all of our personal needs are taken care of. In fact, we might even pamper ourselves from time to time. If we love our neighbors in the very same way we love our selves, we’ll take care of our neighbor when they are in need. Our neighbor is an older man and recently his grass started to grow very tall. I was concerned for him because he usually gets out his riding mower and cuts it before it gets that long and I wondered if he was okay. I called him to see how he was and he said his riding mower broke down but he was so pleased that anyone would care enough to call him and show their concern for him so for one thing, we show love to our neighbor when we express concern for their safety and welfare and if they need anything.
Do them a Favor
I remember when our next door neighbor’s husband died, she was left a widow. She had no one to do all of the yard work, to clean out the gutters, to rake the leaves in the yard, and things like that. She was going through a difficult enough time having lost her beloved husband of nearly 55 years so I tried to keep in touch with her on a regular basis. Occasionally I would go next door and pick up some tree limbs that had fallen down. I offered to mow her lawn but she had hired a lawn service to do that. I also asked her if we could do anything for her which she was physically unable to do herself. There were a few times when we were able to help her by moving around some heavy furniture when she rearranged one of her bedrooms. Another time we moved her outdoor swing into the garage for the winter. And often we’d take her garbage container out to the road so that the trash truck could dump it and the return it back to the backyard behind the garage where she liked to keep it. We’d also send her Christmas cards, invite her over for dinner and in general we treated her like family. Knowing that she was alone we kept in frequent contact with her. Just a few years later, she passed away in her sleep and her children came to us and thanked us for being such good neighbors to her. One of her last wishes she had was that we would buy her home after she passed away as her own children had farms out in the country and didn’t want to move back into the city so our neighbor’s children offered to sell the house to us because our late neighbor knew we’d take care of it and she wanted us to have it. It was an upgrade for us so guess what, we bought it and a very, very reasonable price and ended up moving into the house; right next door. We didn’t even need a moving van. Her picture still hangs on the kitchen wall as if she were still there with us…our longtime neighbor.
Weep with those who Weep
Part of our loving our neighbor as ourselves means we are to grieve over their losses and to rejoice with them when they have reason to rejoice. Paul wrote the command to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15). Jesus was certainly full of compassion and on one occasion as He was going to Jerusalem and looking at the city and knowing the future of all the inhabitants, Luke writes “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41-42). One other time after Lazarus had died Jesus “was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him” (John 11:33b-36)! The shortest verse in the Bible is also one of the most powerful ones; “Jesus wept.” Do we weep when others weep? Do we rejoice when others rejoice? Especially when it’s our neighbor? This is all the more reason to do so if we are loving our neighbor as ourselves. If we were the one who was grieving, wouldn’t we want them to grieve with us? If we were the ones rejoicing over some good news, wouldn’t we want them to rejoice with us? Then why not do the same for them?
As we have read, our neighbor is not necessarily the person living right next door or across the street. It is anyone in need and we need to love others as we love ourselves because Jesus died for us while we were still His enemies and wicked, evil sinners (Rom 5:8 10) so we must love others as or at least equal to ourselves because that is one of the two greatest commandments that Jesus gives all believers (Matt 22:37-39).
Article by Pastor Jack Wellman