Lately, I’ve been blabbing about loving yourself. So this week, we’ll go back to the Why and How?? so that you can love your ‘neighbor’ as you love yourself.
As we’ve learned, loving yourself positions you to love others. With healthy relationships (especially with God), finances, mind, emotions, and spirit, you’re armed to help others do the same. But, how does that look? We’ll learn that our love falls into similar categories as the spiritual formation I recently addressed. So, let’s frame my input like that.
Relationships. Our connections are vital! The Bible says much about interacting with others in a godly way to maintain and deepen those connections used to present God’s Kingdom to others. Here are several biblical tips for keeping those connections alive:
- … be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger —James 1:19.
- BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger —Ephesians 4:26.
- … but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. —Matthew 5:39-42.
Finances. You cannot help others financially without money! But, once you get your finances under control, you may have resources with which to help clothe, feed, or house others—things on which Jesus said He’ll judge us (Matthew 25:31-46).
Physical health. Jesus told us to ‘go.’ The ‘going’ is necessary to establish new relationships with which to be and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Our healthy relationships also allow us to ‘go’ and help others.
Emotional and mental health. This area affects relationships. When we’re healthy emotionally and mentally, we’ll be positioned to mentor others, listen to them in their pain, aid in healing, etc.
Spiritual. Once healthy, we can be godly models of spiritual practices, including Bible study, prayer, accountability, and discipleship. That’s how others can grow spiritually; spiritual growth positively affects all others!
In summary, loving your neighbor can happen when we love ourselves. Being healthy relationally, spiritually, financially, etc., sets us up to aid others by being godly models, helping physically, ‘being there’ emotionally, and assisting in feeding, housing, and clothing the less fortunate. Here’s the good news: you can still love others even while you’re becoming healthy. Just do what you can, give to others as you can.
Next week’s topic will be Just Who Did Jesus Tick off, Anyway?? To support our passivity, we sometimes make Jesus passive. To support our angry, polarizing, and political rhetoric, we often make Jesus political. You’ll discover that the answer is somewhere in between, but always in God’s framework and mission, not ours.
Questions or comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessings and peace,
Pastor Ron Braley, Northview Christian Church