Daily Devotional 1-7-20

Reset: Community  
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:31

What is the essence of love if it is held in privacy? What is the use of a light hidden under a bushel and not placed on a table to shine for people? 

In the Christian worldview, love has three objects: God, Neighbor, and Self.  However, too often, our love is misdirected and mostly centered on ourselves. Jesus even takes this command to love a neighbor to another level when He said, “love one another as I have loved you,” John 15:12. This is radically different in that the love of God becomes the basis, the motivation, and the driver of our love for others. 

Practically, this involves treating people with respect and concern to put the interest of others on a level with our own. Paul writes, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others, (Philippians 2:4). This is crucial because our love for God is demonstrated by our love for one another. 

Don’t get so spiritually high to the point where you lose touch with the people around you!  

Love for a neighbor is a decision we make every day. It involves doing something tangible and specific. It is action-oriented. Get yourself out there (whatever “there” means for you) and bless someone with the Christ in you. The love of God is too great and overflowing for you to privatize it. Take time to think about somebody and bless them in specific ways. Look to your family, check your circle of friends, scan through your neighborhood, identify someone in need and show some love. Loving your neighbor involves crossing the line to the other side––to that person who hates you, the person who gets on your nerves, or the person who lied and stabbed you at the back. 

Love for a neighbor would also invite us to speak to them the truth in love whenever necessary.  Sometimes hearing the truth is like taking a bitter pill to heal from an ailment. The truth can be painful sometimes, but when it is spoken with love and grace it enables receptivity and healing.  Culturally, we shy away from drawing people’s attention to something that is personal, but what is love if it looks on unconcern or afraid until a life is destroyed or ruined?

“Faith is personal but never private.” —E Stanley Jones

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, grant me the wisdom in connecting with others, the boldness to speak the truth in love and grace, and the desire to love others intentionally.