I recently came across some research done by the search engine Yahoo a few years ago. They complied a list of the most searched words on the internet. Know what the top two were? Truth and Love. In their findings Yahoo stated: “many of us are still trying to find meaning for some of life’s littlest big words.”
I want to focus in on the word love for a moment. Love is a word that can be used in a variety of ways. I tell my wife that I love her and yet I also say that I love ice cream. Hopefully there is a difference between the two types of love I just mentioned. for this difference is important. Jesus called his followers to love their neighbors. And he didn’t just leave it at that, He told them how they were to love them.
He said love them as you love yourself.
Not as you love your spouse,
or you love your country,
or you love your favorite sports team.
So how exactly do we love our neighbors as ourselves? Let me give you one suggestion. Double Up! The next time you decide to do something for yourself like buy a cup of coffee, or get a hair cut, or go to the movies turn around and do the exact same thing for another person around you. Buy two cups of coffee. Pay for a strangers haircut. Mow your neighbors lawn. Shovel and extra driveway full of snow. If you are willing to do it for you….be willing to do it for them.
You just might find that your loving your neighbor as yourself.
Have you ever seen someone love their neighbor this way? What was the response?
Jesus stated, “love your neighbor as yourself”. He went on to illustrate what this meant by telling the story of an unfortunate man who was mugged one day in broad daylight on his way home from the city. This man was passed over by two different individuals who decided not to help him. For this man the third time was the charm. At last a man stopped, picked him up, cleaned him up and dropped him off at a local hotel so that he could regain his strength. This “Good Samaritan”, as he has become known as, also paid the tab of the injured fellow and promised to return and pay any further debt that the man might incur at a future date.
Love your neighbor as yourself. How do we love ourselves anyway?
Ok, time for a reality check. Here are a few of the ways I love myself: if there are only two cookies left, I take the biggest. I buy myself things that I want but don’t necessarily need. If I hurt myself I make sure I see a doctor. I buy nice clothes for myself….my list could go on for a long time…how about yours?
Love your neighbor as yourself. Who is my neighbor anyway?
Jesus told this story to point out that anyone who isn’t me is my neighbor. Those who live next door are my neighbors. The guy riding my tail to work this morning is my neighbor. My co-worker is my neighbor. The lady who checked me out at the drug store is my neighbor. Even my enemy is my neighbor. You and I have a lot of neighbors.
I am certain I love me, but I am not so sure that I always pass the “Good Samaritan” test with my neighbors. What are some ways that we can begin to see a little of ourselves in ordinary people we meet every day of our lives?