©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
To truly love our neighbor isn’t about gifts or money, it’s about compassion shared, time extended, the you-matter-to-me moments that demonstrate care.
It’s a matter of our heart.
Sometimes showing love for our neighbor means holding back when we’re frustrated. And, sacrificing our convenience or time to support another’s needs is small compared to the far greater sacrifice God gave us.
Daily choices and moves are pieces of the bigger picture as we put our desire to love our neighbor into action. Of course, our “neighbors” aren’t only those who reside near us, or those who are dear to us, but also those we encounter on the journey.
Let’s remind ourselves of these 18 simple (or are they?) ways to love our neighbor:
- Restrain from blowing the horn in anger. Use it only to prevent an accident or in an emergency.
- Let the person in line behind you with less items go in front. Go big and let someone with more items go ahead.
- Offer a word of encouragement to the mom with multiple kids who are crying or causing havoc.
- Let the person breaking in front of you go ahead without making a snarky comment.
- Avoid mowing or blowing your lawn early in the morning on weekends, on holidays, or when your neighbors are having company.
- Advise the neighbors who live closest to you when expecting multiple cars for an event at your house.
- Share flowers or vegetables from your garden with others.
- Speak encouragingly and express gratitude to workers you encounter.
- Provide assistance. Mow an elderly or super busy neighbor’s yard; set out or return trash cans; pick up their mail or hold packages when they’re gone.
- Share cuttings from your garden.
- Point out a wonder you’ve seen in the day.
- Write an email or text of encouragement.
- Share encouraging Bible verses.
- Pray with someone.
- Give a smile to everyone you meet.
- Hold the door open for others.
- Thank someone every day.
And, having recently returned from airports…here’s a practical one…
- Flush the toilet in public places – really! Those automatic flushers don’t always work!
What stops us from doing more good through our words and actions daily? What prevents us from making “love our neighbor” a priority?
Time? Anger? Judging?
Fear of what others might think? Potential for inconvenience?
Lack of care or compassion? Lack of desire?
Bitterness? Unforgiveness? Ungratefulness?
Or our own spiritual heart health?
When we choose to build up others through encouraging words and actions; refrain from contributing to negative noise and interactions; and leave wherever we visit better, we become less I-focused, more others-attentive, and more God-modeling.
Along the way, we’ll flush out some of the negative and promote more of the positive in our world – one thoughtful action at a time.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-15 NIV
- What “love our neighbor” action without spending money would you add to the list?
- In what way has someone recently shown love and care to you with an action or words (not involving money)?
- What usually holds you back from showing love and kindness to someone you don’t know?
- How can you love your neighbor – love others – more this week through your words and actions?
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you. Proverbs 3:27-28
Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™
*Scripture references are from New International Version (NIV)