Beyond the Church

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence. (1 John 3:18-19)

Jesus tells us in several places in the gospels that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This teaching is reinforced by Paul and other writers throughout the New Testament. In John 15 He also tells us that we are to love each other as He has loved us, and that when we do what he commands we are his friend.

Who is your neighbor? It is your fellow worshipers that gather with you every Sunday, even the ones that you rarely talk to or even know their name. It is your fellow Christians that gather in other churches on Sunday that you may never meet. It is your doctor, your teacher, your students, the clerk in the grocery store, your Uber driver, the barista at Starbucks. In short, everyone you meet or see today is your neighbor.

How do you love yourself? What actions do you take to show that you care for yourself? Are you willing to love your neighbor in the same way? You have at your disposal time, talent and treasure. Will you use those things to show true friendship to a new neighbor who walks through the doors of your church? Will you make a conscious effort to invite a neighbor to church and thus create the opportunity for new friendships?

Lord, show me a neighbor I can love as you loved me. Help me to be a positive influence with my neighbor, and most of all, may I have the courage to invite that neighbor to come to God’s house where He will be welcomed as a friend. Amen.

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