In Matthew 22:39 Jesus tells us the second most important Commandment is to “love your neighbour as yourself” [NRSV]. When I was a child I thought that was pretty easy as our neighbours next door were a kind couple, so being kind to them wasn’t going to be a hard effort. Fast forward thirty plus years loving my ‘neighbour’ isn’t as simplistic as one thought when I was a young child.
To begin with we need to know which ‘love’ Jesus instructs us to do, in John 15:12 Jesus tells us to “love one another as I have loved you.” [NRSV] As we know he gave His life for us, from this we know Jesus instructs us to ‘Agapao‘ our neighbour which is the highest form of love we can give.
This type of love is counter-cultural, society today is oriented towards the ‘eros’ type of love. Not necessarily the physical aspect but the desire part, where through media, internet sites, advertisement our peers etc. we can be drawn to a materialistic almost idol type of love and drawing ourselves away can be very difficult and in some cases we will need divine help. Agapao love requires time, commitment, being vulnerable, honest to people who we wouldn’t necessarily want to.
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians tells them in chapter 5:1-2
“1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and live in love, as Christ loved us[a] and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”By imitating God we will be showing our neighbor agape love, Jesus’ ministry was all about service. When we read the Bible we can miss his servant ministry as we focus on his teachings, sufferings under Pilot and his crucifixion. The prime example of Jesus being a servant was when he washed his disciples feet, but when Jesus was healing the sick, feeding the hungry he was serving his Father and meeting the needs of the needy. In our normal daily lives do we help those in the need, the local homeless person, lower paid staff at work? Or do we miss them because ‘we’re too busy, not paying attention to our local surroundings as we’re focused on our mobile phone, thinking what we need to do when we get home’?
How can we show our neighbour agape love? in these current times during lockdown it could just be doing the shopping for your literal neighbour or phoning an elderly person / someone living on their own in your church. But once we’re out of isolation we need to ask God to help us live our lives as Jesus did, even to those who have a tendency to wind us up, cause us upset.
This coming week ask the Lord how he wants you to show agape love to those in your household, local neighbours.
All Bible verses and links have been taken from http://www.biblegate.com