Love Thy Neighbor



You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39

Beloved,

One of the major problems in our world is low expectations. The problem with low expectations is that people tend to meet them. The beauty of the gospel is that it has both high and low expectations at the same time. The gospel says that we had no expectation for salvation without the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You cannot get any lower than no expectations. Although the gospel shows how we have no expectations to save ourselves, it demands extremely high expectations in our response.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, “You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” By God’s grace we are perfect as we are in union with Jesus Christ. His perfection is our perfection for those who have faith in the gospel. Because we have been given the righteousness of Christ, we have the duty, the desire, and the power to love our neighbors as ourselves. What does it mean to love our neighbors as ourselves? Listen to what Charles Wesley says,

    "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love—embrace with the most-tender goodwill, the most earnest and          cordial affection, the most inflamed desires of preventing or removing all evil and bringing every possible        good. Your neighbor—not only your friends, kinfolk, or acquaintances; not only the virtuous ones who          regard you, who extend or return your kindness, but every person, not excluding those you have never          seen or know by name; not excluding those you know to be evil and unthankful, those who despitefully          use you. Even those you shall love as yourself with the same invariable thirst after their happiness. Use the      same unwearied care to screen them from whatever might grieve or hurt either their soul or body. This is        
love.[1]

This is a very high expectation. We may not always meet the demand to love our neighbor as ourselves, but are we at least aiming for it? In a world of low expectations, let us raise the bar of love to meet the high expectations of our Savior. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:10-11). God never demands anything more from us than he has already given to us. We love another, because God so loved us.

In Christ,

Pastor Dave




[1] From “The Two Great Commandments” in Renew My Heart: Classic Insights by John Wesley (Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour, 2011)

Steven Brazzell

Charlotte, NC