Ask 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.