Back in July I wrote a post expressing my frustration with myself for not loving my neighbor as myself. Here is a follow-up post as I continue to work through this problem as I seek to work out my faith.
In my previous post I wrote about wanting to pray for a dying co-worker but in a short time forgetting about him as I got caught up in my own life again.
This is not an isolated incident. I often have great intentions of praying for others and serving those in need. However, in spite of my best intentions, my life is usually wrapped up around me. It’s hard to love your neighbor when you don’t even think of your neighbor.
It’s not a lack of desire. I want to love others. The problem is how I perceive love. Like most people, when I try to love others, I try to “feel” love for them before I “act” with love for them.
Jesus explained this to his disciples when he gave them a new command.
John 13:34 (ESV)Jesus, the rabbi whom these men had given up all to follow for the past three years had just washed their filthy feet. This was a job for a servant, not a teacher, not their Lord. However, Jesus was teaching them and teaching us, how to love.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another
Love is serving others. Love is putting others needs before your own. Love is not merely an emotion although there may be no emotion stronger. However emotions are fickle, the action of love is real.
Calling my sick co-worker to check on him was nice. It was a step in the right direction but it was a very guarded step. When I asked if there was anything I could do for him, I was relieved when he said he did not need anything. Really, a dying man, whom I am fairly confident did not know Jesus, does not need anything?
I accepted his answer because I was afraid not to. Isn’t that one of the main reasons that even though we want to love, we don’t. Acts of love on our part often open our hearts to more than we dare let in.
We all know the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). I think we hear that story and we tell ourselves that if we come across someone dying in the street that we will stop and help. Well, people are suffering and dying all around us. Sometimes we have to cross the street (or the tracks) to find them.
You may not know anyone dying of AIDS, but they are there. You may not know anyone homeless and starving, but they are there. You may not know any scared unmarried teenage mothers or mothers to be, but they are there. They are there, waiting to be loved, fed, and comforted. Where are you?
You don’t have to wait to stumble across someone dying in the road. You don’t have to wait for a co-worker to get sick and die. The time to love your neighbor, your enemy, and the stranger is now. If you wait to “feel” the love, it will never happen. I know...