You obviously don’t know my neighbor. I can remember when I was first married with three small children. We lived in a small house just outside of Kansas City. My kids wanted a dog. So I got them an old english sheep dog. She was a very good dog. Our house’s back yard backed up to a strip mall. So, people were always walking behind our house. And we had someone one night break into our house in the middle of the night. They walked right into our bedroom and turned on the lights.
At that time Iwas in really good shape. So not thinking, I instantly jumped out of bed and chased the person who was trying to rob us or who knows what his plan was. But, when he turned on the lights, I was up out of the bed just as a reflex. Now, I’m not a small guy, played football in college, and then was fast and strong. So, naively I thought I was going to tackle this guy and make him wish he never walked into our house. Well, I never caight the guy, I guess I scared him pretty bad. He ran out the back sliding glass door that he had left open. And, luckly he didn’t have a gun or other weapon, or my pride might have gotten me killed.
Well back to the love thy neighbor. Our dog barked when anyone would walk past our back yard fence. Our neighbor called the police and said that our dog was “always barking and never stopped!” That was a complete lie. She just didn’t like dogs and was mean. So, the police took her word because the police walked back to our back yard and our dog barked at them. Seriously, that is what she was trained to do!
We ended up getting a ticket for this. So, I went to court about it. Long story short, we lost and it cost me over $480 in fines, court fees and what ever else the judge tagged on. Needless to say, for several days, I did NOT love my neighbor. We ended up moving over this! Who won this battle.
The point to all of this is two fold.
- Even when we are right, our society may not agree with us. Do, we still have to love our neighbor in this instance? God is pretty clear on this!
- Our actions are being watched by the public. Especially by those that are not Christian or on the fence about Christianity.
The Ten Commandments tell us.
God Tells us His second great command is:
‘“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ‘ Matthew 22:36-40
What about the person who tried to rob us? He scared my wife so bad, it effected her for months after the attempted robbery. Even though the person was caught within a matter of minutes after the attempt.
What was I supposed to do? Could God mean that I am to love this man that terrified my wife?
And what about the neighbor that caused so much drama in our lives we had to move to get away from it? Are we still supposed to love those that continually make our lives miserable? Well, if we look to the Word of God we can find many examples of where His children were tested, sometimes severely. He never said “well in this example, you can hate your neighbor”. No actually he said love your enemy and pray for them.
‘Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. ‘ Romans 12:14-15
Matthew 5:44 (NIV)
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matthew 5:43 (NIV)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
Luke 6:27 (NIV)
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,