Why Too Many Christians Fail To Love Their Neighbor

~ Daniel Darling

Who Is My Neighbor?

He approached the controversial, itinerant rabbi seeking validation. He’d lived an outwardly observant life, adhering strictly to the Torah, so his question to Jesus wasn’t really a question. What would it take for this seemingly righteous man to inherit eternal life, he queried. What he hoped Jesus would say or rather, assumed Jesus would say, is You’ve kept the law faithfully. You are in (Luke 10).

Jesus asked the lawyer a lawyerly question: “What’s in the law?” Jesus didn’t ask this because he was ignorant of Moses’ words. Jesus, the Son of God, was present at the writing down of the commandments and, through the Holy Spirit, inspired this Word of God.

No, Jesus was trying the lawyer by his own self-justifying grid. He was standing before a judgment seat and didn’t know it. The lawyer repeated what he repeated every morning: Love the Lord thy God with all of my heart, soul, and mind and love my neighbor as myself.

Good, Jesus commends, “do this and you will live.” But suddenly the lawyer began to tremble. Deep down he knew that as much as he followed the law externally, in his own heart he had violated the law. He had not always loved his neighbor as much as he loved himself. So he asked a qualifying, self-justifying question:  Who is my neighbor?

This question was not a question of curiosity, but a question in search of loopholes in the command to apply the law of God to our interactions with our neighbors. It’s a question that continues to be asked today. All of us know we haven’t loved our neighbors as ourselves. And, like the lawyer, we are exposed before a righteous God.

To Love Is to See Dignity

Why is this commandment so important? It’s important on two levels. Because every human being—every neighbor of ours—is an image-bearer knit and sculpted with care by a loving God, we demonstrate our love for God by our love for fellow humans in our world.

But this commandment is also important because it is the aspect of the law that reveals our inability, since Eden, to obey God. Righteousness before God is not just vertical piety. It is also horizontal love. But sin has corrupted our humanity, and we attempt to usurp God by preying upon, in big and small ways, our fellow humans.

To love people as ourselves is to see that other human being as . . . well, human. Not an obstacle. Not an animal. Not a god to be worshipped. Inherent in The Great Commandment is the Bible’s rich and unique vision for human dignity.

Your neighbor is not a mere object to be lusted after, murdered, or stolen from. He or she is your fellow image-bearer.  This lawyer thought he was okay until the piercing eyes of the only One who has ever fully and perfectly loved His neighbor revealed the depravity of his heart. Jesus does this to this outwardly religious man by telling a story about the vulnerable and the pious.

Jesus answers his question “Who is my neighbor” by saying that your neighbor is that person you are most likely to pass by on the road to Jericho, the person or people group that you, because of your tribal affiliations or personal biases, consider less than human.

The lawyer was not as righteous as he thought he was because he doesn’t always love his neighbor as himself. And neither are we. But there is good news for less-than-neighborly lawyers and 21st Century passers-by like me. Where we have violated God’s law of love, Jesus has perfectly fulfilled it.

Read more: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/why-too-many-christians-fail-to-love-their-neighbor

 

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Love Is Not God: A.W. Tozer on How Equating Love With God Is a Major Mistake

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/336608-love-is-not-god-a-w-tozer-on-how-equating-love-with-god-is-a-major-mistake.html

When You Don’t Feel Loving

“Let love be your highest goal.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NLT)

As none of us is perfect, most of us have an issue of one kind or another. Probably my biggest issue was being afraid to love, which came from childhood hurts. A friend recently asked me if I ever still feel afraid to love and I said not very often but sometimes I do. “What do you do when you feel this way?” he asked to which I replied, “I do the loving thing.”

Nobody feels loving all the time, but we can always do the loving thing if we so choose. People who choose otherwise usually end up driving love away. I’ve seen this happen and I’m sure you have too.

Jesus never told us how we should or shouldn’t feel … he just told us how to act. Sure, it is important to recognize and acknowledge our feelings. Not to do so is to be in denial. However, it is equally important not to allow our feelings to control us. That can be childish and immature. But rather, we need to be in control of our feelings and regardless of what we feel, always do the right thing, the loving thing. This is a mark of maturity.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, no matter what situation I am in nor how I feel, please help me to be like Jesus and always do the loving thing—even if this includes tough love where such is needed. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NLT).

Love is the Answer

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Galatians 5:13-15

Read blog at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/love-is-the-answer-2/

Speaking the truth in love

https://frankking.net/2018/08/thoughts-on-speaking-the-truth-in-love/

Loving God A Sermon by Tope Koleoso

Last Sunday, my dear friend and pastor Tope Koleoso preached the second part in a series on Loving God which was kicked off the previous week by one of our other pastors. Tope opened up much more than he typically does, and shared personal stories which helped illustrate his point that LOVING God is absolutely central to everything in the Christian life. I urge you to watch it, since although you may think you know all there is to know about loving God, this sermon will I am sure come to you with a freshness and fresh challenge: “Do I really love God?”

Listen at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock/2018/08/loving-god-a-sermon-by-tope-koleoso/

If God is so loving . . .

If God is so loving why doesn’t He universally forgive everyone? Love is only part of God’s character. He is also infinitely and perfectly just. How can God forgive someone who admits no guilt? How can He forgive those who insist that there is nothing for which He needs to forgive them? And would it not be the utmost folly to do so? If in His mercy and grace God simply passed over human rebellion, would that not be condoning evil and even encouraging it? Would that not in itself undermine God’s control of His universe?

God’s laws are essential to governing the physical universe. The moral beings who have the power to act destructively must also be governed by laws, or chaos would reign. If He would go back on His moral laws, who could have any confidence in anything else that God has said or would say?

Christ asked His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Mat:6:10). Surely that fact indicates that all is not as God desires it to be on this earth. Men are in rebellion against Him. Forgiveness can only be in accord with God’s justice.
–Dave Hunt (April 2001 Berean Call).
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