Love thy neighbour


Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 
There is none other commandment greater than these.

It sounds so simple. 

So why have we behaved so badly at loving our neighbours?

Why have we treated so appalling those of different colour skin?

Why have so many die because of their religion? 

Why are women treated like second-class citizens in so many countries?

Why are there so many in poverty whilst others live in mansions?

Why do we walk past a homelessness man and look the other way?

Why do some think it is acceptable to beat up a homosexual man?

Why are we so reluctant to help a family in need?

Why?

As humans we are selfish, thoughtless and we really don't care. Anyone less fortunate, not as wealthy, not in power, not white, of a different religion, different to us - we treat as less than ourselves, we turn our backs on them. Not worthy of our attention. We often do it without even thinking.

At times in history we have treat others as less than human. 

Almost every Christian has failed at this very simple verse. We have been commanded to love our neighbours, ALL our neighbours. We aren't asked to be choosy, to only select those who are like us, only those of the same religion, only those of the same class or political persuasion. We are to reach out and love ALL our neighbours. We may not agree with their ideals or beliefs, we may think they are sinful and not worthy of our time, but through our love and compassion we can make a differences. 

In a recent survey by the Scanlon Foundation 19% of Australians (almost one in five) were discriminated against because of their skin colour, ethnic origin or religious beliefs last year - up from 12 per cent in 2012. (source) It shows that we are not very good at loving our neighbour, in fact we are very poor.

My friend Mary sent me the words to a song that encapsulated our behaviour; "We hide behind these walls, And the security of friends*" and we do not like to venture beyond our self-imposed walls see the real world. We don't want to take the risk as we are fearful of what we might find. Jesus didn't remain with those that were saved (his friends), Jesus ate with tax collectors, he talked with prostitutes and spent time with the sick and the poor. He spent time with them because He loved them unconditionally.  We need to model our lives after His.  And we need to find the "time to touch a broken heart"*.

Loving our neighbours doesn't just mean saying "hello" in passing (but that is a start in the right direction), it means actions, reaching out, helping, taking a risk into the unknown and it might mean offering up your last loaf bread to someone without any. But most importantly, it needs to come from the heart and not an attempt to earn points "just to get to heaven". As Spurgeon so beautiful states: Oh, it would turn the world upside down indeed, if this were practiced. **

For me, this is one of the fundamentals when teaching our children. Do not shut your children (or yourself) away and create an environment of "them and us". They need to learn from an early age to "love thy neighbours", they need to see their parents putting this into action and they can only do this if they know who their neighbours are. Why is this so important - because the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us to do this, it is His will - there is no greater commandment than this.


Thou art bound to love thy neighbour, then do not neglect him. He may be sick, he may live very near thy house, and he does not send for thee to call on him, for he says, "No, I do not like to trouble him." Remember, it is thy business to find him out. The most worthy of all poverty is that which never asks for pity. See where thy neighbours are in need; do not wait to be told of it, but find it out thyself, and give them some help. **


I want to end on a quote from Spurgeon - true when he wrote the sermon in 1857 and still very true today: "It would be a good thing if some ladies loved their neighbours as much as they loved their lap-dogs.**" A lesson for all of us to ponder as we move through this day.
****
Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and[a] Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Mark 2: 15-17 (NKJV)



* A world we never touched by Carouthers, Richarson and Pedigo, 1996

** from Love thy Neighbour, 1857, Sermon 145 Rev C. H. Spurgeon
*****

Comments

  1. lol Jo. I had to laugh. The first thought that popped into my head with that end quote was: I bet the lap dogs behaved better!

    Fallen world. Satan has children too ~ & his are not very well behaved at all.

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    1. I just loved that quote - the lap dogs would have been fed better :) I had a conversation with Ruby (cat) about this quote!!

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  2. We all tend to pride and selfishness. I have a special friend whose parents were Salvation Army officers. She was an inspiration to me in the way she deals with all people on an even field and reaches out to people who are often thought of as "untouchables". I know I have a long way to go but have also tried to instill this in my children. Love God, love thy neighbour.

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    1. Some people really do have the gift for reaching out to others but many of us find it very difficult and quite scary at times. I to have a long way to go:) I think at times it takes baby steps.

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  3. I don't know why in the past and present people choose not to love everyone as equals. All that truly matters is what we do in the future. As parents and grandparents we have to model this and involve our children/grandchildren. Thank you for the reminder.

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    1. I have never understood why someone looks at a person of different colour skin and decided they couldn't be treated as equal - it is something I can't get my head around. And to make it worse, parents pass their prejudices onto their children so it perpetuates to the next generation.

      Thankyou for stopping by:)

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  4. We are all so sinful from the inside out as a natural thing - we sin naturally and habitually from a very young age (who are we to judge others for this when we ourselves can't stop or change without God???) - if only we would so easily learn to be the opposite as a habit and a natural thing, it would make the world a very different place! The world as a whole will never turn itself around and be kind and love one another (until prophecy is fulfilled and all is peace and joy) - it is up to us as Christians to be different, to be the ones to shine love and light in others' hearts and lives. It is definitely Christ-like behaviour. This is a good reminder, Jo - and we all need reminders!

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    1. It is interesting that we are commanded to the love the Lord Jesus Christ and to love our neighbours and there is NO greater commandments than these but so many stumble and fail at both, not in some small way but many times.

      I recently watched several movies about the treatment of black Americans and what was so tragic - this was driven by so called Christians - did they just decide to skip these verses? However we aren’t any better today than we were 50 years ago.

      Maybe we need to have these verses pinned up around our homes as a reminder

      “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

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    2. We DO have those verses you quoted in your comment posted on the wall of our house! :) And yes, the treatment of black Americans makes me feel very sad and even angry. Have you seen 'The Help'? That one really made me feel uptight!! :(

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    3. Yes I watched "The Help" a little while ago and it made me really cross and sad. The one I watched last week was "The Butler" which is based on a true story. It is well worth watching - its quite beautifully done but once again it will make you cross and sad. But the butler was the most remarkable man.

      Another movie about attempting to unite a nation is "Invictus" which is about the Springboks, South Africa's National Rugby team and how Nelson Mandela used them to bring unity. I thought it was a lovely film and I think I remember Nick once talking about it too. Its also based on true events and less likely to make you cross.

      Perhaps more people need that verse on their walls - perhaps the bathroom mirror when they first get up :)

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    4. PS not that we have a great history of treatment towards the Australian Aboriginals - its pretty bad in fact:(

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    5. Thanks for the recommendation of 'The Butler'. We'll look out for it. Is it new, or older?

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    6. New, hasn't been out on DVD that long.

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