“What if the only example of God’s love your neighbor will ever see is you?”
~Pastor Shawn Whitworth~
For Christians and non-Christians alike, loving a neighbor or another human being can be difficult at times. We are humans, after all, with egos, steadfast opinions, self-righteousness, fearfulness and unwarranted condemnation that allow us to flow along with inappropriate behavior toward others rather than love unconditionally.
During Easter week, I am reminded that Christ died for our sins and gave us eternal grace and love, no matter who we are, no matter our sins. There are no conditions or stipulations to his grace and love. It is a gift, one that Jesus hoped we would embrace and follow during our lifetime.
I have met a number of people in my life who are difficult to love. They have had different opinions, different personalities, different perspectives and sometimes were simply not nice in their behavior. I never confronted the differences, but often would stay silent or walk away from the relationship. I was never good at having a “diplomatic” conversation or understanding how I could show love to that person without having to agree with them. I struggle with this even today, but I do understand and try to practice love in my heart, if nothing else.
It’s easy to show love to people you care about, but it’s another to show love toward the always crabby neighbor, the negative co-worker, the in-law or family member who likes to stir the pot, or the acquaintance who lives a completely different lifestyle. It’s easy using current cultural “norms,” prejudices or definitions on which to base love, but the harder path of unconditional love is what Christian faith truly desires.
When you step out of your home this week and beyond, ensure that your neighbors see a reflection of Jesus’ love and grace in you, and for non-Christians, a reflection of your own loving God or a positive, spiritual being. Don’t be the crabby or unforgiving neighbor, but rather the one that knows grace and gives it willingly to others. You may be like me and struggle with this in some circumstances, but even I can acknowledge people’s value with a smile, a wave and a wish that they have a great and marvelous day. Big or small, your actions of love can change the neighborhood one person and one step at a time.
Allow someone or something mightier than you to guide your heart. Be visible in love always.
Linda G. Hill is the Queen of One-Liners and rules over her kingdom of followers. Check out today’s post and commit yourself to join the Queen’s one-liner army because there’s no fighting or blood, only comradery and fun with words.