Love Thy Neighbor


The love that enlarges not it’s borders, that is not over spreading, including, and deepening, will contract, shrivel, decay, and die.” – George MacDonald.

When you think about the relationships you have or have had with your siblings, or those you consider as such, several things may come to mind: you might think of how much you like, appreciate, or admire them, or of how they’ve let you down, you might worry about them and their well being, or wish you could take back the nasty things you said last time you spoke, maybe you wish you spoke with them more frequently, or maybe you think you speak to them too much.  No matter what thoughts are in your mind, you have to admit, you do think about them.  We don’t get to pick our brothers and our sisters, and so we fight, we give the silent treatment, we hold grudges, but in spite of all the fighting and bickering we just aren’t able to completely do away with the basic love we feel for our siblings.  For some reason or purpose we were created with an inability to resist the brotherhood within.  Indifference doesn’t come naturally but through much practice and determination and often times only serves the purpose of masking other more painful emotions.  Often times we may wish we could feel indifferent and we may try to force ourselves into a state of indifference, but if we are truly honest with ourselves, our sibling’s existence is not easily forgotten, discarded, or ignored.

I point this out to say, isn’t this the way it should be with all the people we are connected to.  For what is indifference, really, but the neglect of love, or a general reality of lovelessness.  Isn’t it indifference that Jesus is asking us to a cast aside when he tells the story of the good and kind Samaritan man?  Wasn’t he challenging us to open up our hearts and our worlds to care about the people who near to us; the people he puts into our paths.  The truth is we do not pick our brothers and our sisters, we do not pick our neighbors, and we do not pick the people in which we connect with along our paths.  However, indifference is a choice, a choice that goes against the very nature of our existence because we were beings created for love.  What a beautiful thing it is to recognize our kin, our kind in those who are close and connected, to see bits and pieces of ourselves in those who cross our path.

Lord, despite the flaws and frustrations I feel towards some of those who have crossed my path, I make the choice not to be indifferent, to my neighbor, my brother, my sister, or anyone who happens to be, at any moment, standing right next to me.

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