Loving “thy” neighbor sounds really great in theory, but how can we practice this in the rush of our daily lives?
As we talked about on Sunday, loving our neighbors well starts with loving God. As Jesus said, “This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:38 NLT). This is something we’re always growing in, and as we learn to love God more and more, that love flows out into loving the people around us.
With that in mind, we wanted to provide 3 practical Next Steps to help us all love our neighbors well.
Spend time with them.
I recently heard a quote that has stuck with me: “Love is spelled T-I-M-E.” One of the greatest ways we can show love to our neighbors is by spending time with them. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. Take a coworker to grab lunch or a coffee. See if your actual next-door neighbors want to come over for dinner. Make yourself available to the single parent on your street who may just need someone to talk to. One of the greatest things we can give people is our time.
Listen to them.
In an age where the interruptions seem constant, simply putting away our distractions for a few minutes to listen to someone can make all the difference. When you’re talking to a neighbor, be intentional about keeping your phone in your pocket. Keep the TV off and the music down for just a few minutes. Taking the time to really listen to people can open up whole new avenues of conversation and truly “doing life together” that you may have missed if you were scrolling through your phone.
Share the Gospel with them.
The greatest love we can show to our neighbors is sharing the truth of who Jesus is with them. We don’t have to be super “in your face” about our faith, but we want to make it clear that Jesus is the truth we center our lives around, and we can do this in two ways: how we talk and how we live. When someone is sharing their struggles with you, point them to how there is hope in Jesus in the middle of the toughest challenges. When conversations about belief and faith come up, jump on the opportunity to share the Gospel with them. And then live it out – they may listen to what you say, but your words will carry much more weight if they see you walking it out every day. And be honest about your shortcomings. As believers we don’t live life perfectly, but we lean on the grace of Jesus to carry us through those moments. That’s a greater hope than trying to attain perfection, and your neighbors will be drawn to that.
(Need help with this one? Here's a great resource on what the Gospel is.)