Ways To Love Your Neighbor

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus commands me to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. He also commands me to care for my neighbor as I do for myself. To love your neighbor is not a new idea. Many Old and New Testament verses contain specific examples of God’s concern for mankind. Verses such as John 3:16 show how the Heavenly Father extends unconditional love to all people­—past, present, and future—by giving the Gift of His Son.

When Jesus came into my heart and life, I begin to understand agape and try to distribute it to others in times of emergency. Reading, reflecting, and writing from Scripture helps me learn to show compassion for humanity. Am I perfect in showing love to others? No. I fall far short, but I am willing to offer charity and to act with sensitivity on behalf of others.

To show sympathy, kind-heartedness, and good will to another, I strive to remember he/she represents every human being on Planet Earth. I cannot hand-pick the individuals I serve. None will be duplicates of my personality. Some may not like me nor submit to my charitable service. I may feel that I should qualify, quantify, or purify this person before I offer to meet a specific need. Like the Good Samaritan, I do desire to offer care. If my gift is rejected, I plan to remain patient and available. Another may accept my offer on a different date.

By what means can I share love and give help to another? What steps can you take to more effectively love your neighbor? Below are ten gentle actions to offer a friend in times of need. I can:

• Pray specific prayers. If he/she does not have a job, pray for one. When ill, offer to pray for healing, privately or together if the individual prefers.

• Take an interest in his/her life, visit, and engage in conversations in an attempt to become better acquainted.

• Show support and availability without being intrusive.

• Offer physical help. If family members are ill, offer to make meals or drive the children to school.

• Listen without interruption. Let the speaker share at a comfortable pace and depth.

• Show sympathy without overwhelming the mourner.

• Offer a shoulder to cry on when grief is unbearable. Find other manners to give comfort.

• Allow space and alone time without judgement.

• Give hugs. Physical touch can be healing but let the mourner lead. Some want hugs more than others.

• imply be there as a friend.

This list I created is for the purpose of showing love to my neighbors. With continued reading and meditation of Scripture, I hope to learn to love my neighbors in ways which will be pleasing to them and to the Savior.

Donna Nelson
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