Love Your Neighbor

Duane Vander Klok

By this everyone will know that you are my Disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:35

Disciples are called to love God, and love people. Matthew 22:36-40 says, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” In other words, Disciples love God with all of their heart, mind, and soul above everything else, but they also have an extraordinary love for people.

It’s very easy to read this passage and think, “of course I will love people!” But applying it to our lives is completely different. God’s command wasn’t to love your neighbor on a good day, or when it is easy and convenient. It is simply to “love your neighbor,” even if your neighbor is someone who has wronged you or someone you have a very hard time getting along with.

Jesus taught it this way in Matthew 5:43, “You have heard that it was said, ‘love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in Heaven.” Again Jesus also said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” (John 13:34-35). When we love God, and also have an extraordinary love for people no matter their political views, nationality, race, faith, or gender, we begin to walk out the Journey of Discipleship.

This week, let’s ask for God to reveal how we can better love the people around us, and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ not just with words, but also with our actions.