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Loving Neighbors

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14 NIV

The Law contained rule after rule on how we should be in relationship with each other. But if you take all those rules, they come down to a clear directive first given by God in Leviticus 19:18, repeated by Jesus in Matthew 22:39, and again in this letter from Paul. Its repetition indicates the importance of the message.

While the concept is simple, the application is sometimes difficult. What does it mean to love my neighbor like me? One way is to become more selfless. As a nation, we are guilty of being self-centered and focused on the accumulation of stuff. I'm reminded of the seagulls in the animated film Finding Nemo as they screech, "Mine, mine, mine." We desire all sorts of things to be mine. Instead, before buying more useless things to add to our pile of stuff, we use those resources to help others. But it's not always money; sometimes, we are selfish with our time. We make time for the things we want to do but become conveniently busy when it comes to helping others.

All is not hopeless; the repetition of this scripture reminds us of what we should do. It raises the awareness of God's expectations, and we can evaluate them against our actions. We may not all become Mother Teresas, but with God's help, we can do better.

God of Abundance, we thank you for your grace. You have given us much. We confess we are often selfish, putting our desires and wants above those of others. Raise in us an awareness of our neighbors. Help us to become more selfless. Renew in us the heart of Jesus. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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