Love, One Neighbor at a Time

I have a number of people in history I admire, one is Mother Teresa or now Saint Teresa. She was an incredible woman, recognized the world over for her charitable works and her care for the poorest of the poor. Her quotes both encourage and challenge:
Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.

Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.

I remember hearing an interview of a reporter who shadowed her for a day as she encouraged the Sisters of Charity (the order of nuns who care for the poorest of the poor), corresponded with individuals, made appointments with kings and world leaders, and showed great kindness, care, compassion, and love to the impoverished, many who were on their death beds. The reporter commented that the needs were so great, and questioned her if she felt like she was making much of a difference. Holding a malnourished child in her arms, she commented that, yes, she was making a difference, to this one.

See, we may not be able to love everyone, but we can love those around us. Sometimes it gets overwhelming as there are so many needs; our spouse, our friends, our family, people we live around, people at work, people at school. We listen to the news and are overwhelmed at struggles, tragedies, accidents, natural disasters, and wars. We hear of people facing cancer, experiencing a job loss, dealing with a death in the family, and we are not sure what to do, how to help, where to start. It can be so overwhelming that we get stalled and though we have feelings of compassion on the inside, we hold back the natural flow of expressing that love.

Jesus gave us some help and encouragement to move us on to active love/care when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Jesus called this the second of the greatest commandments (See Matthew 22:35-40 to see the first of the greatest commandments). Part of the duty of man is show some compassion and active love/care to those who we live around. Sure some of us may amass global movements to care for segments of our world, yet all of us are called to actively love/care for those with whom we connect.
Love is a choice to act in a loving way towards another.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
Love learns names and discovers who people are; their history, their talents, their insights, their hurts. Love shares life and helps lift heavy loads.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Love meets practical needs like the so named “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:29-37 who showed mercy to someone in great need. It is loving others like we like to be loved.

It does not have to be a big grandiose plan that reaches thousands and gets noticed by the media, but it will made a difference to the one you love. So love, one neighbor at a time!

Church can be a great place to be encouraged to love your neighbors and love like Jesus. If you are not already connected to a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches in either Los Alamitos or Garden Grove as we are in a new teaching series called, “There’s Room: Life in God’s Family.” We are learning from the Bible book of Ephesians talking about the inclusive, loving, caring reality of God’s family. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net . It would be great to have you join us.

Seeking to be more neighborly along with you,

Mike

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