As a disciple of Christ, if they’re close in proximity, then they’re my responsibility.
Mark 12:28-31 ESV
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Love God and love people!
How Do We Neighbor?
1. We must move from LOOKING to SEEING.
“The practice of neighboring creates incredible opportunities for us as believers to connect our story to the stories of our neighbors and, ultimately, to God’s story.” — Randy Frazee
Luke 10:32-37 NLT
“A Temple assistant walked over and LOOKED at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he SAW the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
Psalm 139:16-18a NLT
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
Psalm 139:16-18a NLT
You saw [my neighbor] before [they were] born. Every day of [their] life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about [them], O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
In order to neighbor people God’s way, we have to see people through God’s eyes.
You can’t define someone by the current state in which you find him or her.
2. We must move from HEARING to LISTENING.
Hearing — to become aware of by audible sound; requiring no effort
- Accidental, involuntary, effortless
Listening— to give attention to sound; to hear with thoughtful consideration
- Focused, voluntary, intentional
James 1:19 NIV
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”
“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” — David Augsburger (Christian author)
3. We must be motivated by love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 TPT
If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing. And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value.
“Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; just act as if you do. For as soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Two Steps to Loving Your Neighbors:
1. Pray for your neighbors.
2. Start with one.