Fruit of the Spirit: Loving Your Neighbor

Who is your neighbor? Look around. See that person sitting across from you? They are your neighbor. That lady who takes care of your children in day care? She is your neighbor. That person who just gets under your skin? They are your neighbor too. Every one who is not the Lord or you, is your neighbor. So when in Matthew 22: 36-40, Jesus says, “To love your neighbor as yourself.” These are the people he has in mind, who ever it is that you interact with and in within your sphere of influence.

Fruit of the Spirit: Love Your Neighbor

Jesus further addresses the issue of who is our neighbor in the tale of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10 25-37.) He further points out that not only who is our neighbor but how we must act to be considered a neighbor, ourselves. We need to reach out and help those in need.

This is not a post to tell you, that you need to donate more money to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, or that you need to go on a mission’s trip halfway around the world. Or even anything else that could be considered big. While the grande acts are helpful, and even worthy to consider, this is not what I want to reflect on. I want us to look at the small everyday things we could be doing to help those in need.

Consider for a moment the homeless you see daily (in some parts of the country.) Are you meeting their gaze and treating them like human beings? Or do you divert your eyes and pretend they don’t even exist? Have you ever considered offering them a sandwich or fruit? I even once offered to take one young woman to the grocery store to buy the things she said she didn’t have the money for. It wasn’t much, but if she had taken me up on my offer it would have been food for her kid’s lunches. Helping them can be simply recognizing they exist, and seeing if you could help them find their way to a shelter or a program, where you know the people really care.

Or consider the young military wife and mother in your community. Chances are when her husband deploys, if she stays in the area, she will need help at some point and will not have family to lean on in the area. Don’t just give a general well I am here if you need me. While she might appreciate the offer, most these ladies are tough and don’t know who is willing to help. Instead call her up this week and tell her you are willing to babysit for a couple of hours. She can nap, go get her nails done, clean the house, or maybe just grocery shop without little extra hands. Those precious moments when another set of hands is there to help will help her to feel that she is connected and people care. And trust me she needs that. Then again if babysitting is not your thing maybe you could arrange to bless her with a meal she didn’t have to cook.

When was the last time you reached out to the new people at church? It doesn’t matter if it turns out they aren’t that new, still reach out. Introduce yourself. Meet new people. You never know what it will mean exactly to the person you are reaching out to. That person could be the painfully shy type and have no idea how to reach out to meet new people. Your introduction might be just what they need to start meeting their new community.

These are just a few scenarios. My point in these is this: think outside the box. Who can you help? Whose walk needs shoveling? Who could use a meal ministry this week? Who simply needs you to say hello? Reach out and act with loving respect and be the neighbor you were called to be.

***What are some ideas you have on how to bless those around you?***

***If this post has touched you in any way please feel free to share this post. The only thing I ask is to please back to the original. And as always feel free to share via social media. If you have missed any of my prior posts in this series you can find them here : IntroductionLove Your GodLove Your Wives, Submitting To And Respecting Our Husbands, and Love Your Children.*** 

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