Love Your Neighbor
Today, our country sits in chaos. There is still a virus out there, mask mandates, political unrest, rioting over everything. Facebook is full of dissension, people attacking others over their differences of opinions. Even Christians. Somewhere along the line we have forgotten that the most important question isn’t to mask or not to mask, who did you vote for, or even who our next president will be.
The most important question, the one that your eternity hangs on, who do you believe Jesus is? I am not talking about what you say you believe with your mouth, but what does how you live your life say you believe? What you believe about Jesus while you are here on earth determines your eternity.
My Christian friend, if you truly believe Jesus is who He says He is in Scripture, that He is the ONLY way to eternal life, the ONLY way to be saved from eternal death, would you not then believe that to truly love someone would mean preaching the gospel to them, warning them of the consequences of sin, even at the risk of being rejected and persecuted?
Matthew 22:39 says “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What many are calling love today is really just tolerance. Tolerance means you let others do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t bother you. Tolerance is not the love that we as Christians are called to have. Tolerance is a self-indulgent, self-centered worldview. Tolerance is lawlessness, and love, real love, has no place in lawlessness.
What does it look like to live in tolerance? It means we keep our mouth closed and say nothing.
That isn’t how we are called to live. We as Christians are called to live like Jesus. Jesus didn’t live out a tolerance worldview. If He had, He wouldn’t have been sent to the cross. Jesus preached the need for repentance, telling people the consequences of sin, leading them to their need of Him, of the gospel.
What does it look like to live in love? To live as a Christian, we cannot truly live out the command to love others without living out the command that Jesus talks about in the verses prior. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great command.’’” (Matthew 22:37-38). Loving God with every part of us is the first and the great command.
Because of loving God with everything, the Apostle Paul was stoned, put in prison, and he never closed his mouth. He kept preaching the gospel. Stephen, when asked to give a defense for himself, to save his life, took the time instead to lay out the gospel. That’s what love looks like. It is taking the risk, sacrificing our own self-interests to warn others about the consequences of sin and to preach to them the gospel.
My Christian friend, have you grown tolerant and closed your mouth? Now is the time to repent and to love like Jesus did. Open your mouth, preach the good news. Tell people about the gospel. Love your neighbor.