Love Your Neighbor
A devotional by Christa MacDonald
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
– Romans 13:8-10 (NIV)
– Romans 13:8-10 (NIV)
I went back to Romans today as it’s one of my favorite books in the Bible and I wanted to read something uplifting. It can truly be a struggle to remain informed about what’s going on in the world around me but also stay in the right frame of mind. I’m not in charge of the world – God is – but there are times that I want to take charge and put things in order. As I am not president, or queen, or empress of anything, there’s not a lot I can do so I struggle to not become dismayed.
The Bible gives us the winning strategy. In Romans 12:21 (NIV) we’re told, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
How can we do that? The world is pretty evil, and we’re only human. The verse above gives us the answer, “…love your neighbor as yourself.” Every person we interact with in our lives is our neighbor. Your coworkers, your bank teller, your mechanic, the post office clerk who isn’t that nice, your children’s teachers…
You may be thinking, That’s impossible. Those people aren’t really my neighbor, I doubt that’s what this means. But remember how Jesus answered when asked “Who is my neighbor?” in Luke 10:29? He told the story of the Good Samaritan and then he told the man to “Go, and do likewise.” God has commanded us to love, and so we need to be careful about putting limits on whom we are willing to love.
What does loving someone as yourself look like? The verse above has an answer for us too – love does no harm. That might seem pretty simplistic. If you're taking the time out of your busy life to read this then I highly doubt that you're the type of person who would be looking for ways to intentionally hurt people, but remember the parable of the Good Samaritan. The standard is higher. When we see a need we must respond. Our love needs to be an active one.
God has called us to live counter to our culture’s selfishness. Prayerfully consider in what ways you could love the neighbors in your life.
Consider this: How is God calling you to serve and love the people that He has placed in your life? Figure it out and then get out there and love somebody!
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.
A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.
Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world, love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.
When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.
She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.