Loving My Neighbor… Or Not?

-by Emily Akin-

“Love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus said. This directive appears many times in the Bible. In James 2:8 (NIV), the writer assures us: “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.” Royal law? I have questions.

Do I have to love my neighbor(s) if:

  • Their lawn looks like the Lawn of the Month while mine looks like a salvage yard?
  • They “walk” their dog on my lawn, allowing it to make regular deposits thereon?
  • They question each other’s parentage within earshot of my children?
  • She sideswiped my car while backing out of the driveway?
  • They are always coming over to chat while my favorite TV program is on?
  • He borrows my tools “temporarily” and won’t bring them back?
  • She asks me to keep the kids for a couple of hours and is gone all day?
  • They have some pretty shifty-looking visitors coming in and out?
  • He asks me to drive him to an appointment out of town?
  • They have loud parties and don’t invite me?
  • They make me feel guilty because they don’t go to church and I haven’t invited them?

Actually, there are no exceptions to the royal law. God wants us to love our neighbors regardless of how much we dislike them and no matter how much they annoy us. We think of them as nuisances. Jesus sees them as our brothers and sisters. Let’s accept them for what they are—children of God who need a loving neighbor.