Who Is Your Neighbor

Jesus said to him,
“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like it:
YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:37-40

LORD Jesus we praise You that we do not have to keep the law to enter heaven. Forgive us, O God we pray, whenever we are trying to earn our way into heaven. With men this is impossible, Your Word says, but nothing is impossible for our God who so loved us that He has given His one and only Son who left His Throne, was born on earth, died for our sins, rose again, and is now living with the Father in heaven again, from where He will come again to judge the living and the dead. Hallelujah! Help us, precious LORD, to know what it means to love the LORD our God with all of our heart and to love our neighbor as ourself. In Jesus’ wonderful name we pray. Amen.

This “Royal Law,” (found in today’s verses) or at least part/s of it, is found throughout the New Testament (Matthew 19:19, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8), and once in Leviticus where it says:

You shall not take vengeance,
nor bear any grudge against the children of your people,
but you shall love your neighbor as yourself:
I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:18

Who is that “neighbor” that God has brought into your life? Will you love that person—as God has told you to? Or will you grudge against your neighbor, resent that person or be bitter towards the one God has placed next to you?

Ouch!

A recent study on this topic lead me to the Book of Ruth. Naomi decided to go back to her own people after her husband and her two sons had died in the foreign land where they were all once living together. She told her daughters-in-law to get on with their own lives. One of them, Orpah, kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her (Ruth 1:14).

Ruth was determined to follow Naomi

So she said to her,

“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth held fast to Naomi and would not let her go. I think we can safely say that Naomi was “Ruth’s neighbor.”

The Word says that we ought to love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength. In Matthew 19 Jesus also tells us that if we want to enter into life, we need to keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17). Which ones? He refers to a couple of them that are found in the Ten Commandments and then He rounds them up by saying: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Who is the person (next to you) that God has brought into your life and that you are to love today?

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