How to love others

Cute little girl holding red heart - a 1910 Valentine greeting
 
Did you get any valentines last week?
 
Why do we need a “Hallmark holiday” to remind us to love those around us?

 

Because sometimes it’s hard to love.

I’m not talking about your loving your family and your friends. I’m talking about loving those who are different, or difficult, or down-right irritating!

But Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39).

Doing good, loving our neighbor — the stranger, the person who pushes our boundaries — it’s easier said than done.

Last week we talked about ways to love God. By loving God we are keeping the first four of the Ten Commandments. By loving our neighbor we are following the last six.

Love God Love Others
1.  Do not worship any god except me. 5.  Respect your father and mother.
2.  Do not make statues of gods (idols). 6.  Do not murder.
3.  Do not misuse my name. 7.  Do not commit adultery.
4.  Remember the Sabbath day. 8.  Do not steal.
9.  Do not tell lies about others.
10. Do not long for what belongs to
     someone else.

 

How do we talk to our family about loving our neighbor?

 
Start close to home…

  • Identify who your neighbors are. Do you know the names of the people who live around you?
  • Discuss why you live where you do. Did the “neighborhood” have anything to do with where you live?
  • What are some activities you enjoy doing? How might these activities help you to be more neighborly to those in your neighborhood?

Move out a bit…

  • Did Jesus mean neighbor, as in someone who lives next door?
  • Name some of our “neighbors” who don’t live in your neighborhood.
  • How do we recognize a “neighbor?” (Hint: It’s about recognizing a need.)
  • What are some needs we see in our community? In the world?
  • Move out further…

  • What do we do with our doubts? (The needs are so great!)
  • What if people around us want to throw their hands up and say, “What good can I do”?
  • What do we do when our attempts to “love” a neighbor are rejected?
  • How can we persevere?
  •  

    How is your life a testimony to your love of God and neighbor?


    Photo credits:
    A valentine from 1910 by Royce Bair via Stock Solution Photo Agency. Shared under a Creative Commons License.

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