What Does It Mean To Love Your Neighbor?

Jewish religious leaders had become so involved in their culture, sacrifices, traditions and rules that they failed to love God or others.  So a Religious leader asked Jesus, of the 613 Jewish laws what was the most important.

Luke 10:27 – Christ answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself.”

We realize that Jesus was saying it isn’t the laws or obedience that matter it is our relationship with God and others.  If we continue to love God and others with an unselfish love the laws would not matter.

I have read this Scripture many times and have heard a number of sermons.  What does it really mean to love your neighbor?  Ask that question and more than likely you will get a number of different answers.  Some will say it is your brothers and sisters in the Lord. In fact, I would give an answer probably different from any you would give.

A neighbor is someone that needs help and we can help.  A neighbor is how we treat others in a way we would want others to treat us.  The golden rule was a guide given to help each person to know what was right and what was wrong.  It is a test of morality in how we react to others and their needs.  It requires a heart of humility and a generous spirit.  Pride can block our love for God as well as our love for others.

When I was a high school teacher I wanted to make each student receive more knowledge and help them become capable of dealing with the world.  I made more on my summer job than I did teaching for nine months.  It wasn’t just a job or the money.

As a supervisor for Birds’ Eye Frozen Foods I had a choice to put out an excellent product or surpass production quotas.  As important as quotas were it was more important to put out the best product we could.  I didn’t want to put out spinach with weeds in it for the sake of a quota.

As a store manager I believed if you treated the customers fairly, gave them the best service possible, with a smile and took care of their problems they would continue to be a repeat customer.

As an investment advisor we always have a choice.  What we suggest for an investment will it be to my benefit financially or is it best for the client?  Many commission salespeople will put what is best for them ahead of what would be better for the customer.  We have recently seen this in the housing crises.  Assessors were over valuing homes in order to get business.  Real estate agents would sell homes that made them the most commissions to people who couldn’t really afford them.  Financial companies were making loans to people without verifying whether they could ever make the payments.  Insurance companies were insuring that these mortgages were safe because it was very profitable until they had to pay off.  Greed was everywhere including politicians who were encouraging that homes should be sold to anyone who wanted one.  If you didn’t co-operate they would send in auditors to make your life miserable.

Doesn’t loving your neighbor as yourself mean—treat others like you would want to be treated?  Regardless of what our job is who do we look out for?  Doesn’t loving our neighbor mean putting what is best for them rather than what is best for me.  What kind of a world would this be if everyone did what is best for the person they are selling to or providing services.  Is a mechanic following Christ’s principle if he tells you that a new starter is needed when the old one works well? In every store I told our mechanics that if I found them overselling they would be terminated. What about the air conditioner repairman who tells you that you need a new condenser when only a fuse was needed?   The things I have seen over my lifetime would make most anyone a very cynical person.

Doesn’t loving our neighbor mean: when we have a choice, treat others like you would want to be treated and never take advantage of anyone—ever.  Wouldn’t Christ define this as loving your neighbor also?


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