Swimming Upstream: “Do We Really Love Our Neighbors?”

neighborsAsk us Christians if we love our neighbors and you will instantly hear our rousing  knee-jerk response: “Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes and more.”

After all, we all know how Jesus summarized the Law by stating believers should love God and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

And who hasn’t heard the story of the Good Samaritan at least a thousand-zillion times ad infinitum.

We know all of this stuff; it’s Basic Christianity 101. Tickle our ears, give us something new, right?

But do we really love our neighbors?

This is a question I ask myself often. You see, for me, it’s easy to care about the poor and hurting in Asia and Africa or the inner cities of America or even the gays in San Francisco. These are burdens the Lord has placed on my heart.

But I struggle with loving the guy next door or the fellow down the street. After all, can’t I fulfill Jesus’ words by just tossing them a warm “howdy” every once in a while?

And yet, I’m wondering if my Christianity isn’t what the Apostle James termed dead faith.

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17)

Do we really love our neighbors? If so, how far do we have to stretch out our love to them? With prayers? With fasting? With our pocketbooks? With our fellowship, even though we don’t like or agree with them? With hospitality? Where does this love end?

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.


Filed under Christianity, Christians, Church, church planting, Emergent Church, Faith, Gifts of the Spirit, God, grace, Home Church, jesus, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, Red Letter Christians, reformation, Religion, spiritual warfare

10 responses to “Swimming Upstream: “Do We Really Love Our Neighbors?”

  1. too easy… when I sleep.

    So, What are we tangibly accounting as Love? Is it works in Christ’s name? Or works alone? And if all we need is Love, how do etch Grace in? Is Love the same without it? Is it better? Does it do more?

  2. Most of us Christians travel past tens or hundreds or even thousands of neighbors to spend time with believers who agree with our beliefs. And yet, when (not if) terrorism strikes our neighborhoods, the people next door or the one across the street will be the most important people to us.

    ” …do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away… (Proverbs 27:10)

  3. Cindy,

    “too easy… when I sleep.”

    Good answer. Probably true for me, too.

    Dawn Ministries – http://www.dawnministries.org/ – has a vision to plant 20 million churches by the year 2020. Their hope is that everyone can walk to a church, ie neighborhood churches.

    To bring this into fruition, it would mean we are going to have to love our neighbors enough to fellowship with those we may not agree with or even like.

    An interesting idea, right?

  4. yes… I made a friend (Pastor) who had just started working in this area, and the first thing he noticed… how many churches there are everywhere. For example, there are 7 churches (of different denominations) within walking distance from my house.

    we go to the closest, but the strange thing is, a high percentage of it’s congregation commutes into town to go there. I don’t get it. My neighbors all go there too, don’t get me wrong, but it just seems odd to me.

    I think Fargo is blessed in this area.

    ps… I like my neighbors!

  5. Dale

    My neighbors are a bunch of drunks, and I don’t really like them. (I want to be more like Jesus in every way)

    When Jesus said Love our neighbor was he speaking of having feelings for them? I don’t always feel like I love everybody I should, but I know deep down that I do love them. Good topic Larry.

  6. Dale,

    Good point.

    Agape love is not the mushy-gushy love of songs. It’s the hang on the cross and willingness to lay down your life love like Jesus did for you and me. As one person once said, this kind of love is an act of our will not our emotions.

  7. Nicole

    Would you mind if I used the image of neighbors on this page in a youtube video I’m creating as a class project. The video is about immigrants but their is a part in it about neighbors.

  8. Nicole,

    Help yourself. I probably borrowed it from a free-to-use web site. You can always blame it on me, okay?

  9. The Bible gives us plenty examples of ways to feel about our neighbors:
    ”Far better a neighbor that is near than a brother far off.” or ”You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [Matthew 22:39]“.
    Just think that sometimes the only one who is near your, and who can lend a hand in your hour of need is the one living nearby. We should be thankful to God, and we shall pray for the souls of the one that helps us.

  10. Adeline,

    Good points. Thanks for your input.

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