Saturday, August 16, 2008

Love Your Neighbor


I came to the stunning realization the other day that I do not love people. I only have time and care for people who are to some advantage to me. The exception to this, is people who I do not expect anything out of. If I do not expect anything from a particular person, except maybe to be used, then when they do something selfish or wrong, I am not hurt, because I never expected anything from them in the first place.

The realization of this was quite astounding to me, being a pastor, thinking that I love everyone. The wonderful thing, has been experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in actually changing my ways and loving people because of the command to love my neighbor rather than because it is my job or because of what they can do for me.

One of the struggles for me is spending time on people, even if it only means a few minutes, on those who offer no return on ‘my investment.’
So many thoughts could come out of this, but I guess the best one, is I am sure glad that Jesus didn’t love me in the same way. Romans 5:6-8 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Not only has He done this, but in His grace, He enables us to love that Samaritan beaten up on the side of the road. Thank you Lord.

Luke 10:25-37 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" 27 So he answered and said, "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND,' and 'YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'" 28 And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" 37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

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