Loving Your Neighbors…Does it Look Like This?

Devotional Thought of the Day:God, who am I?

 I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the holy Spirit in bearing me witness 2  that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. 3  For I could wish that I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kin according to the flesh. Romans 9:1-3 (NAB)

436 Experience, great knowledge of the world, being able to read between the lines, an exaggerated sharpness, a critical spirit… All those things, in your business and social relations, have led you too far, to such an extent that you have become a bit cynical. All that “excessive realism”, which is a lack of supernatural spirit, has even invaded your interior life. Through failing to be simple, you have become at times cold and unfeeling.  (1)

Most of realize that the great commandments are to love God with everything, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Though we all struggle with this, I sometimes wonder if we know what it means to love them.  It’s not just giving them a hug as we greet them during the peace,  Or giving them a high five when we see them, hearing that they made a hole in one. It even goes beyond cooking a meal for them when they are recovering from a hospital stay, or helping them when they are short of cash.  Loving goes a lot more.  Too often, St. Josemaria has it right, the very lives we live, the successes we have in our “real world” leave us cold, and unfeeling.  To be honest, sometimes we are un-loving.  This Catholic priest/pastor has it right – our realism leaves us dried out spiritually.

But we are called to love, to love supernaturally, and we have a great example,

Do we feel like St Paul does, when he writes to the Romans, explaining that he desires that he would be able to give up his life, his eternal life, be completely separated from Christ,  that those who were His brothers could know Jesus.  

Two things about this passage need to be noted

First, what Paul wants for his people more than anything is that they would know Christ, that the power of His resurrection would be theirs, that they would walk with God, as they (and all of us) are meant to do.  Nothing else matches that priority. For nothing, absolutely nothing, in life compares to the peace we have, knowing God lives in us,  This love of God which compels us to love in return, the depth of that love, the height, the width and the breadth – to even glimpse of God’s love for us, leaves us in awe.

He wants that experience for them more than anything, and truly loving someone else means not just wanting them to have good, but to have the best.

Which leads us to the second thing – that he desires this so much for them, that he would desire this so much, that he is willing to give up his own place in Christ, if it meant that they would be there.  He won’t just die for them, he would be willing to give all up for them. Including eternity, including Christ.  (yes I know, and Paul knows that this is impossible… )  Still his desire that they know God, intimately relate and communicate and love God, he is willing to sacrifice all for that to happen.  Are we?  Can we trust in God to the point where God’s desire becomes more and more the dominant desire in us?   Can we see our families, our neighbor’s need, their brokenness, their desperation to be loved completely, to be freed from guilt and shame, to be able not to be anxious or fear, to live in peace?  Would we die on a spiritual grenade for them?   Would we endure some discomfort?  Would we confront them in love, showing them their need for Him?

Love you neighbor, Jesus said……….

Here is an example.

Lord, pour out your mercy on Your people.  AMEn!..
Oh…. One last though in passing….Jesus also said love your enemies…

 

 

 

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1944-1947). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on July 3, 2014, in Devotions, The Furrow and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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