Friday, February 19, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: A life lesson on giving and receiving love

You are someone’s neighbor
A devotional by Jessica Collazo

‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ –Luke 10:35 (NIV)

The month of February has a way of bringing LOVE to the forefront of our thoughts.

Many people think love can only be celebrated in a romantic fashion. Dinner for two, flowers, chocolate, all of the cliché things, which are not bad or wrong. But, what if this month we spend some time remembering the greatest command that God has given us in Mark 12:31?

God tells us: Love your neighbor.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the man that was beaten and left for dead did not ask for help. The Samaritan took pity on him and went above and beyond to help. He saw the need and he tended to it.

Our problem today is that we see or hear the word “pity” and we allow our pride to take over.

Yes. Pride. You may ask “How?” 

Here’s how:
We say things like, “I don’t want anyone’s pity” or “I don’t need any handouts.” But in reality we are saying, “I don’t want anyone to have compassion on me.”

I’m guilty of that. God recently allowed me to see that I do not allow my neighbors to love me. In my mind, pity equals weakness, and I did not want to be seen as weak or incapable of handling what life throws at me. Loving others? I can do that. But allowing others to love me? Well, that was the hard part … until recently.

Recently, my family has gone on quite the roller coaster ride. My youngest son was born with a severe health condition that one day would require an organ transplant. That time came and in less than three months, we decided to move forward with the process, received approval to have him listed on the organ transplant list, got a match and completed the surgery. And while there are many miracles that happened in that short span of time (we will talk about those another time), one of the most beautiful things that I was able to witness and experience was the love of God through how others loved us.

Just like the Good Samaritan, we had people who took care of us without us needing to ask. Friends who created meal delivery sign-up sheets, people who we met once sent us gift cards or delivered food to the hospital, text messages, phone calls, but most importantly they prayed.

I cannot tell you how the prayers of so many people, including strangers, carried us through. I felt the love through the army of people that prayed us through that entire ordeal.

Now back to that pride thing: If it were any other time, or any other situation, I probably would not have been so receptive to receiving the love and support (emotional or financial) that was so freely given to us.

So, if you are the one who is struggling to allow others to love you, I urge you to let your guard down, swallow your pride and say yes. Allow yourself to experience God’s love and peace through your neighbor’s love.

If you are the neighbor who doesn’t know what to do, how about you start by asking, “How can I pray for you?” Then do something. Walk their dog, take them a meal, rake their leaves, shovel their snow, sit with them, send them a Scripture, and once you do something, pray again. It will be their lifeline as they walk through whatever they are walking through.

Let’s Pray: Father, I pray that as we think about what it means to love our neighbor and how we can show others the love of Christ, that you would bring to our minds someone that needs to be reminded that they are loved. That we would act as the Good Samaritan did, and most importantly, that we would allow ourselves to be loved by our neighbors because we must remember that we too are someone’s neighbor. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

Author Bio:

Jessica Collazo is a Chicago native with a heart that beats for Jesus. Her passion is to challenge women to think differently, gain a new perspective and live confidently. Because she knows it’s possible. 

Using God’s Word, a little bit of humor, along with a strategic way of thinking and sharing personal stories, Jessica offers a fresh take on where to go when women feel stuck, overlooked or overwhelmed.

Jessica’s greatest passion is to help women take off the identities they have been given by the world and realize who they are in Christ: known, dearly loved, set apart, and chosen.

Jessica is the customer experience manager at Proverbs 31 Ministries who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Jerry, two sons and dog, Sawyer. Prior to working at Proverbs 31 Ministries, Jessica has over 10 years of experience working in women’s ministry, marriage ministry and outreach.

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