It seems like so often in current Christianity we talk about the command of Jesus in which He calls us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” It is always interesting when we have this conversation because, despite our definitive views about what type of things are sinful, we refuse to acknowledge that being unloving of our neighbors is sinful to the highest degree.
We often times forget that when Jesus is giving this command He is doing so in the context of being asked about what is the most important command for His followers. He answers by telling us to “love God” and “love others.” But all too often I see Christians who justify their feelings towards others by saying “I love them, but I don’t have to like them.” I think there are three definitive reasons that we aren’t loving our neighbors properly.
- We Don’t Really Love God
Yep. You read that right. One reason we aren't loving our neighbors is because we don't actually love God. Click To Tweet
If we truly loved God we would understand that to love Him means to love the people He has created. If we truly believe that in the beginning God created everything, then we should also believe that we are all descendants of common ancestors. When we look at our neighbors we are looking at people who are created in the image of God in the exact same way that we are.
2. We Don’t Understand the Bible
If you think that Jesus was a white Republican who lived in the USA; you have no understanding of the Bible. If you believe that he died for Americans only; you have no understanding of the Bible. If you believe that America is God’s chosen nation; you have no understanding of the Bible.
To love our neighbors means to love those who look, act, think, and talk differently than we do because we all have one thing in common; our brokenness. We need to remember that our neighbors typically will differ greatly from ourselves but biblically we should know that all humans are created equally in the eyes of God.
3. We Don’t Want to SacrificeWe are called to follow the example of Jesus and sacrifice for the ones we love. Click To Tweet
Estimates agree that to end “extreme poverty” in our world it would cost only 75 billion dollars a year. That may seem like a lot but compared to the 2.5 trillion dollars that “Christian Americans” make every year, it is a small price to pay.
You see, if we were to live sacrificially we could show our love for our neighbors in some extravagant ways that would change our world. But, we live in a time in which capitalism is king and if you are wealthy you are entitled to a bunch of nice things for yourself. Unfortunately, with that mentality we are often restricted to tossing our neighbors “our scraps” and that to me does not indicate that we love them very well.
If we are going to love our neighbors in the way that Jesus calls us to it is going to require something on our end. It will require our devotion to God. It will require our devotion to His word. It will require us to live sacrifically.
If we truly believe that following Jesus is the only way to find eternal salvation, we better buck up and start following this command; love your neighbor as you love yourself.