Loving your Neighbor

We have had a great sermon series looking at Jesus’ charge to His followers, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” One of the key phrases occurs after the charge, “For all the law and the prophets hang on these commandments.” During our journey we’ve looked at who we are as a church and who we are as a people. As we look at ourselves we determined there are aspects and qualities to our character that we particularly admire and those that cause us much shame.

In our search and discovery of who we are as a people, we discovered that we are a seasonal people. The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us in chapter three that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun. These might not be words you want to hear, but you are in your current season of life for a reason. God’s reasons and methods are always perfect but not always understood. Where you’re at during this season, I encourage you to find perspective, find ministry opportunities, and always look to continue your sanctification. Because, no matter if life is going well or the bottom has fallen out we can continue to be faithful in spiritual disciplines, faithful in prayer, faithful in worship attendance, faithful in fellowship, and faithful in giving. Time is a great blessing and amazing gift, my encouragement is for us never to waste our days and moments on this earth. You can be a good, loving neighbor regardless of the season you are currently living.

I am someone who doesn’t like to get my hands messy. I don’t really enjoy BBQ ribs or chicken wings if I have to eat them with my hands. My preference is to use my fork and knife and cut them rather than pick them up with my hands. Messy and Brian Sandell is not a good combination. It is very interesting that many of us treat our relationships the exact same way. When our relationships are clean, on the surface, and baggage free most of us are fine. When pain and hurt and loss creep into our relationships, plague our neighbors, and begin to dominate the conversation we begin to feel uncomfortable and become distant. Unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations are not places where we like to find ourselves. Jesus as our example always looked to embrace and love people no matter how uncomfortable the situation. He healed lepers, ate with tax collectors, blessed and loved people whose lives were a mess, and he even forgave the people who crucified Him. What an example to follow! Here are a few steps we can take:

  1. Realize and know God saves people, not us. We are called to be faithful not saviors.
  2. Recognize that failure and loss are events not identities. God does not create failures, but because sin is real failure is an event.
  3. Look to pray faithfully every day, and look to get involved in one ministry opportunity. Your character and heart will be changed if you commit to this 100%!
  4. You will fail and fall short but look to persevere and never stop. God equips and goes with you.