Love thy neighbor.

Love thy neighbor.

The concept seems simple enough. In fact, I think I first heard it somewhere around age four when I started Sunday school at the country church about 100 feet from my front door.

Treat people with kindness. Be generous with grace. Show up when others are struggling. Bring a hotdish or a coffee or a shoulder to lean on. Clear the snow or bake cookies for no reason. All these actions embody love.

The command to love thy neighbor is not followed by “if.”

Love your neighbor…

If you like him.

If she’s cool.

If they think like you.

If her style is on point.

If you agree with his lifestyle.

It’s simply: love thy neighbor. All neighbors.

Love thy neighbor who challenges your thinking.

Love thy neighbor who looks different from you.

Love thy neighbor who maybe isn’t actually that nice.

Love thy neighbor who secretly annoys you.

Love thy neighbor who doesn’t realize his privilege.

Love thy neighbor who hides her private struggles.

Love thy neighbor who isn’t perfect.

Love thy neighbor.

“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” -James 2: 15-17

We live in a divided world, and it’s easy to take a side and start to hate the opposing views. Let’s not forget: God loves the people we don’t like. Let’s follow His example and love the people that He placed next to us.

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