Three ways to love your neighbor…
Growing up many times I heard my parents say, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Perhaps you heard this many times as well. It sounds simple enough and it is an easy phrase to remember. I would even go as far to say that most of us would even probably agree with this statement. But I will be the first to admit, as much as I agree with this statement, there are times my life does not live up to this standard.
Jesus took this a step further when he made the statement, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Again, another great statement, but what does that look like?
Jesus gives us a great example in Matthew 8:1-4:
Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
There are three ways that Jesus loved his neighbor here…
- LOVE WITH TOUCH.
Leprosy left untreated the person will die in about 10 years. It starts with fatigue and pain in joints. Scaly spots start to develop—body covered with lumps filled with pus. The face changes shape, growth on vocal cords change voice and the body decomposes and it develops extreme stench.
If you think about it—Jesus didn’t have to touch him—Right? Jesus healed other people by just speaking the word.
Why do you think Jesus touched him?
Perhaps it was because the leper didn’t just need healing from the disease,
but he needed love for his rejection.
There is something about a loving touch that can change everything. When thinking about loving your neighbor ask yourself the question – “Who can I love with a touch?” Maybe it is a simple hug, a hand on the shoulder, or a pat on the back. A loving touch makes a difference.
2. LOVE BY LISTENING.
Most people don’t listen with intent to understand. Most listen with intent to reply. When thinking about loving your neighbor ask yourself the question – “How can I listen better?”
The word “listen” has the same exact letters as word “silent.”
Sometimes people don’t want you to fix something—they just want to be heard.
They simply want to know that someone understands and cares.
3. LOVE WITH TIME.
Jesus was always going somewhere, but he was never rushed.
Jesus spent time with people. Try to find a story that He was not with people.
Not many unless he was getting alone with God.
When I think of someone who loved with time one person that comes to my mind is my grandmother. She didn’t have much. I don’t regret she didn’t have a better house.
I don’t regret that she couldn’t travel and take me to exotic places. I don’t regret that she didn’t buy nicer gifts. Why, because I treasure the time she gave me.
When thinking about loving your neighbor ask yourself the question – “Who do I need to love with time?”
There are many others ways to love our neighbors! But here are three places to start loving others the way that Jesus loved. Don’t wait! Join me in attempting to love the way Jesus loved.
You can read more from our pastor at matthewkprather.com