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Love Your Neighbor

Image of a bible with the words "make a faith journal using the bless method. Love your neighbor. June 12, 2023 Matthew 22:39"

Date: June 12, 2023

I use the BLESS method every morning for my devotional. 

B - Bible Verse
L - Listen for God's Word and pray
E - Explore the History and meaning
S - Study the Key Words or Phrases
S - Summarize and Share

You can read more about it by going to: What is a Faith Journal?

B - Bible Verse: "And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:39

L - Listen for God's Word and pray: Lord, open my heart and ears to receive Your Word today. Help me understand the depth and significance of loving my neighbor as myself. Teach me through this verse and guide me in living it out in my daily life. Amen.

E - Explore the History and Meaning: Matthew, one of Jesus' disciples, recorded this conversation between Jesus and the religious leaders. They asked Him about the greatest commandment, and Jesus responded by quoting from the Old Testament, specifically Leviticus 19:18. The command to love your neighbor as yourself was an essential part of Jewish law and teachings.  Jesus affirmed the importance of loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind, but He also emphasized the significance of loving our neighbor as ourselves. This command goes beyond simply showing kindness or being polite. It challenges us to treat others with the same care, respect, and compassion we have for ourselves. It requires us to have empathy, understanding, and a genuine concern for their well-being.

This verse is so important that it’s repeated 3 times, here by Matthew, in Galatians by Paul and in Mark by Mark. We’ll be talking about each of those later this month. 

S - Study the Key Words or Phrases:

Love: It refers to an active and selfless expression of care, goodwill, and affection toward others.

Neighbor: It encompasses not only those who live nearby but also anyone we encounter, regardless of background, race, or social status.

As yourself: It implies that we should extend the same level of care and attention to others as we naturally do for ourselves.

S - Summarize and Share: 

So here's the deal: Jesus said that loving our neighbor is just as important as loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind. That's huge! It means we can't just focus on our relationship with God and forget about those around us.

Loving our neighbor means treating them with the same care, respect, and kindness we naturally have for ourselves. It's about going beyond superficial niceties and truly seeking their well-being. It's being a listening ear, a helping hand, and a source of encouragement.

But let's be real, loving people isn't always easy. We come across all kinds of people who challenge us, have different opinions, or have hurt us in the past. It's in those moments that loving our neighbor becomes a radical act of defiance against the divisions of this world.

Imagine a world where we all loved our neighbors as ourselves. It would be a place of unity, understanding, and genuine care. It would break down barriers and bring people together. And you know what? We can be a part of making that happen.

Let's make a commitment today to love our neighbors well. Let's look for opportunities to show kindness, lend a helping hand, or simply offer a smile. Let's be intentional about embracing the diversity of those around us and celebrating the unique value each person brings.

When we love our neighbors as ourselves, we reflect the love of Christ and make a real difference in their lives. It's not always easy, but with God's help and the power of His love working through us, we can do it.

Today, I want to encourage you to ask yourself, "How can I love my neighbor better?" Maybe it's reaching out to someone who's lonely, supporting a friend in need, or showing kindness to a stranger. Let's be the kind of people who shine God's love wherever we go.

Remember, loving our neighbor as ourselves is a powerful way to live out our faith and impact the world around us. Let's be the conduits of God's love, spreading kindness, compassion, and joy wherever we go.

Bible Cross References:

Leviticus 19:18 "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."

Romans 13:9-10 "The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not covet,' and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

Galatians 5:14 "For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

James 2:8 "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right."

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