21 Mar He Chose to Love Neighbors (Forty Days with Jesus – Day 28, Mar 20th)
Thought for the Day: I am called to love my neighbors!
Robert Frost’s timeless poem, “Mending Wall” gives us a lot to think about. Two neighbors gather each year to repair the stone wall separating their two pieces of land. While one clearly wishes that they could realize they no longer need a wall to be good neighbors, the other is unable to move beyond the belief that “good fences make good neighbors”. This poem has become a classic, especially in New England, but too often we find ourselves putting extra space between ourselves and others for the wrong reasons.
Jesus knew the importance of loving “your neighbor as yourself”. When asked which was the greatest commandment, He first chose “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” but immediately followed with the commandment to love our neighbors. In First Century Jewish society, many of the people struggled with the notion of loving neighbors. For those in positions of power, there was a tendency to see only those with equal power or authority as true neighbors. For the common people, it was easy to look at those in positions of power with great resentment. Both sides tended to live with the mistaken belief that “good fences make good neighbors”. Instead, they were all neighbors and needed to see that God has not made some people better than others.
Just as Jesus chose to love His neighbors, we have the opportunity to treat others with dignity, respect, and compassion. It is easy to default to the mentality of “good fences make good neighbors” and not really be a neighbor to the people God has placed in our lives. Today, we are not called to let some into our lives and wall others out. Instead, let’s learn to simply love our neighbors and leave the rest up to God!
Reflect & Pray – Am I being a good neighbor to those in my life? Is there someone in my life I am being unfairly harsh or unloving to? God, please grant me the compassion and heart to love all of my neighbors!