Making Room: A Study of Biblical Hospitality: Day 2

Making Room for Your Neighbor

by

Today's Text: Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-37, Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 6:2

Text: Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-37, Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 6:2

I’m embarrassed to admit how often I don’t love my neighbor.

One of my neighbors is a man who regularly stands on a corner near my house. Pangs of guilt shoot through my heart every time I shift my eyes away from him as I pass by. I have a long list of excuses for my inaction, of course—mind tricks and rationalizations to push away the guilt. It might not be safe to interactI might enable an addictionI can’t make a difference anyway. But is ignoring his very existence the way of the gospel?  

When asked point-blank to identify the most important commandment, Jesus responded:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
-
 Mark 12:30-31

Notice how Jesus snuck two commandments into His answer? With this twofold response, Jesus showed just how interrelated and inseparable these two commandments really are. To truly love God, we must also love people.

On our best days, we want to obey Jesus’ command. But if we’re honest, some people are easier to love than others. Maybe they require less sacrifice, they love us back, or they just caught us in a good mood. Whatever our reasons, Jesus challenged this preference and inconsistency: “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46). In other words, don’t expect a gold star for only loving when it’s easy.

When we feel guilty, we often want to justify our actions. When the Holy Spirit whispers to our conscience, we might argue away that sense of conviction by asking: who really is my neighbor?

In the book of Luke, we see a lawyer asking Jesus for clarification on the very same question (Luke 10:29). Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritana story that still offends our sensibilities no matter how many times we hear it. Jesus told this parable to show His followers both who they should love and how they should love. The Good Samaritan and the man in the ditch had nothing in common, except for this one important detail: they were both journeying on the same road. For Jesus, that was enough of a reason to stop, to care, to be a neighbor.

Anyone in our path—or on our path—is our neighbor, and we are called to love them.

How can we possibly love every person we meet? The truth is, in our own strength, we can’t—not perfectly. But the command remains. Scripture tells us that those who are in Christ are able to love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19-20). The life we live—and the love we give—is by His power and for His glory (Galatians 2:19-20).

The Son of God is the ultimate embodiment of the Good Samaritan. Jesus left heaven to come to us in the form of a man (Philippians 2:6-8), to seek us out and meet us in our deepest need—when we were still lying dead in the ditch of our sin (Ephesians 2:1). He left His throne room to rescue us, even to the point of death on a cross. Let us love our neighbors with this same otherworldly love, the love of Christ.
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Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.

  • Brenda Inzunza

    When people irritate me, when people hurt me, when they think different than me.. i must love them at all costs! I needed this

  • It’s so radical that the love HE gives us should and will transpire from us to those that we cross paths with, just because HIS love transforms us into people that can love everyone we meet!

  • I love this! It is so easy in thought to love everyone….but life and our own thoughts get in the way…that person doesn’t really need me or she might think I’m odd for saying hello to a “stranger.” Often times I worry about what others will think instead of doing what the Holy Spirit is calling me to do. This is something I am working on. My friends and I just started this study in hopes that it helps us build community with others around us.

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  • I find it funny how something that seems so simple in context is often over complicated by us out of fear or worrying…but that’s why I’m reminded of a verse in Timothy that says we aren’t given a spirit of timidity but of power and love…we are called to be bold and brave women of God’s kingdom and if we would only step up and love our neighbors…how much love could we fill this world with?

  • It’s such a profound thing – LOVE. I sometimes feel I don’t fully understand Gods love – it’s almost too good to be true. And because of it – I almost limit myself to receive Gods love (due to a lack of understanding and an imperfect (perfect) earthly father) and by limiting this I almost “don’t ” know how to REALLY love people.

  • My church is currently on a mission to “Live, Love, Loud!” Where we are just showing Jesus’s love through our daily interactions with strangers around our town. Today, fits right in. I’ve had an idea in my head before of making a back pack of some necessities, $20 worth of stuff to give to homeless people when I see them. This morning, I feel as God reminded me of that idea and put it on my heart again. We have a homelessness in our town with no shelters. Most of the homeless here aren’t making changes to improve their circumstances because the weather conditions are mild and people give a lot of money. I think a back pack of necessities would be a great way to show God’s love where as money could enable a drug problem.

  • This is exactly what I needed to read. A few days ago, I was leaving work when an older woman and a child asked me for a ride, as they couldn’t walk down a busy road in the heat. I said no, concerned about my own safety given recent events in my community. My entire drive home, I cried, disappointed in myself for not choosing to love them. I’ve thought about it each day since. This is a reminder that each individual we meet deserves our love, as anyone could be our neighbor.

  • While driving on a rural road, I spotted a body lying in the middle of the road. I pulled my car in front of him to alert other cars and called police. While waiting, two other cars came and stopped. We decided not to approach him because there was a large roll of cash near him and we weren’t sure if he had a weapon or how he’d react. One fellow left but the other stayed with me until the police arrived. He called an ambulance and indicated the guy was on drugs. I don’t know what happened after but I felt strongly that the young man needed protection that day. He will never know us, but God took care of him that day.

  • A lady fell in the parking lot as we were both heading to our cars. Her purse went one way and as she was flat on the ground past her purse, so I grabbed her purse and ran to help her up and was able to get wiped from my car for her bloodied knees and make sure she was okay. That was easy for me. Sometimes giving of ourselves to our neighbor is giving time. I was in a store (without a cart) and in a hurry. I saw a sweet (elderly) lady and she commented on an item I had. I left my items on the aisle and ran to the restroom and when I came out to grab my things and run, she asked me about an office supply, I cannot remember what, and we begin to talk. At first I was saying in my head “be polite, be patient, don’t run off and leave this sweet lady”. I ended up staying and talking to her for 20 minutes. She is 91 years old and was a Preacher’s wife. Her son is in education like me and I mentioned something about church and she asked me where I go to church. It ends up she attends church where I got married and we know some people in common. Marjorie seemed lonely and as I resolved myself I could make time to talk, she was sweet blessing to me and gave me two scripture cards. I gave her my business card and we hugged before I left. I sensed my neighbor needed time, and I walked away blessed.

  • For me it isn’t loving the homeless or those that are in need… it is loving those who I see daily and have felt the need to guard myself from. Currently at work there is a woman who tries to be in control. She is my neighbor but I don’t know how to balance making my point of I am a better worker.. and loving her/helping her out. Especially because she is mean to be and won’t accept my help. I guess to cope my thoughts are constantly making fun of her short comings to reason why we don’t get along. Suggestions on how to love her better? I have really been praying about this.

    • Briony

      This sounds really difficult, Jayde. I am constantly telling my boyfriend to detach himself from work relationships as colleagues are not supposed to be friends (although they can be). Nevertheless, we’re called to be lights in this world regardless of context. One suggestion is to pray that God guards your heart, that you can show her love without being hurt by rejection or lack of appreciation. Because otherwise you could end up blaming her for a lot of stress at work. The second thing I’d try to do is pray for her (Luke 6:27-31), which, whilst not easy, will be you consider things from her point of view. Maybe she’s had a difficult, chaotic life and wants to control what she can. If she behaves this way with others, she might have made herself a very lonely person. Finally, this may open up new ideas for loving her better… Your understanding of love might be different to hers (e.g. Five love languages). She might not want help, but a kind word or a cup of tea etc. etc. could be what she needs.
      I hope some of this helps you! Keep praying x

      • Tealadyforchrist

        Briony, I am grateful for your reminder that colleagues cannot be friends. My current supervisor used to be a co-worker who worked in the same department I did doing the same job I do. We ate lunch together, talked about our families, weekend events, etc. She would even share personal things like her desire for children and current infertility. But, when she became my supervisor things changed. Unlike our old supervisor who had a hands off approach (unless we asked for her help), my new supervisor is almost smothering. I never knew what micromanaging was until took this new position. Needless to say things have been stressful, even hurtful at times yet my new supervisor tried to hold onto our old friendship. My husband would tell me, like you have said to your boyfriend, colleagues can’t be friends. I am learning, for the most part, that he/you are right. My trouble, however, was how to move on and stay stuck in that angry place of feeling mistreated by her micromanaging actions. Prayer for her, our department, myself, my attitude about it all, etc had gone a long way to bringing back my joy and peace in the workplace. Prayer works!

  • I was struck this morning by a simple but powerful phrase in this reading: “The Lord is one.” In the midst of trying to understand each person, role, and relationship of the beautiful Trinity, it’s easy to forget implications of the oneness, such as Christ as Creator.

  • This really hits home for me. I continually give to homeless people begging and hear it from everyone how they are using it for drugs or alcohol…but when I ignore them I feel immense guilt. That what if that one beggar was truly hoping to get a meal or clean socks? I gave to a very dirty skinny woman the other day, she was crying holding her sign over her face…when I gave her money she was so appreciative and as I drove away, I cried. Not just cried but sobbed. The entire 20 min drive home. She was a baby, a child, a teenager, a young woman….what happened to her that brought her to this way of life? I just wanted to scoop her up and show her love and tell her Jesus loves her so much.

    • Jessica Dollar

      Jenny I struggle with the same guilt when debating whether to give the homeless money. My husband and I have decided instead to make care packages with granola bars, water, chapstick, and a verse etc.. that we just keep in our cars to hand off when we see people who are struggling and homeless.

    • GLORYA JORDAN

      We serve at our local homeless mission/center. Many homeless individuals DO struggle with addictions. And most of them ARE truly hungry.
      Giving them money was not the answer for us. We give money to the organization (Streetlight Ministry) because we know they will use it for good.

      Instead we give $5 Subway Gift cards with a water bottle and information on the homeless ministry we support. That ministry has weekly meals, clothes, propane tanks for people in the woods, classes/programs for people struggling with addiction, depression, mental health needs, and they ALWAYS preach the gospel.

      Doing both of these things, 1)serving in the ministry with my time 2) giving financially to the ministry & 3) seeing people, reaching people, by feeding people & engaging in their lives allows us to follow what we believe Jesus would do. We do what the good Samaritan did and what Christ followers should also do.

      By the way, for me, loving the marginalized, the vulnerable, the desperate flows out of me because it makes sense to love those less fortunate than me. Loving my fellow believers is the hard part. Those I feel should know better but don’t DO better. That’s who I struggle with loving the most.

  • Kensley Goodman

    It’s so easy to stay inside your comfort zone and continuously work on your own relationship with God. Our God asks us to go out and be disciples, so if one of the most important commandments is love thy neighbor as thyself what greater love can we show to our neighbor than to share the story of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is a place where I still lack confidence with sharing the gospel with the random people who God puts in my path, but I pray everyday for courage and I know He will help me overcome.

    • Jenny

      Absolutely…it’s easy to sit in our homes and read our bibles….or go to church and discuss God openly there. But in public is so hard. I pray all the time for more courage to reach out more.

  • I am continually praying over this one. Being human is hard. Loving other flawed humans is hard, especially when wickedness infects so many. I always come back to this: loving your neighbor does not mean you must be their friend, or their rescuer, or their doormat. Loving your neighbor is finding a way to make peace. To forgive. To “love ‘em anyway.” “I love you from over here” is a phrase I have to use sometimes. I will pray for you, be kind to you, and then move on because I am not called to be a victim – I am called to give genuinely, to love deeply, to forgive willingly.

  • Christine

    This is great. Honestly if we as Christians all reached out, there would be such a surge of life in this country. If we loved those in our sphere of influence, we would see such a revival. If we walk with the Holy Spirit love is simply our nature. Today has definitely inspired me.

  • Great Study, a good reminder how we should treat people. I myself have trouble loving my neighbors. I need to pray. Maybe my neighbors will see the light in me and there behaviors change for the good.

  • My daughters “other mother” was not always easy for me to love. Mainly because I resented her and everything she was that I was not. However, the Holy Spirit reminded me that she played a very important role in my daughters life and to love her like Jesus would be the best route I could take. Of course HE is always right! Love never fails. Patty is a wonderful friend to me and a fabulous other mother to my daughter. We often all three do things together and I’m so glad that God opened up my heart for us to be friends. I love how God heals relationships and makes room in our hearts for people we would never dream of inviting in!

  • I have friends who are so easy to love, it’s no work at all. But how I treat the people who have nothing to offer me really says the most about my brand of love. Lord, that we would love with the extravagance of Your Son, who lavished love on us when we were the hardest of hard to love, when we were steeped in sin.

  • Lyn Johnson

    Great study. My passion is to equip people to practice hospitality. I am the non-Martha! I have a website and blog where I share super easy tips, videos etc. Just in case people want to check it out it is http://www.Heartistry.info.

  • Well, this one needs a whole lotta work on my part. :)

  • Alexis Maycock

    I have a neighbor in my apartment building who I find nosy and a bit creepy. I try to stay away from him and his wife as much as possible. My reasons? This is America! There are so many crazy people out there. I have to protect my daughters. The list could go on and on. As I read the study for today and the accompanying scripture I felt the Holy Spirit remind me of my nosy neighbors and how I have been treating them. I am wrestling with how to be a neighbor while being safe. They haven’t done anything but I guess call me paranoid. Letting go of my paranoia and engaging my neighbors and trusting our safety to God…easier said than done. Pray for me ladies!

    • Emily Stearns

      You hit the nail on the head for me too. It’s a really hard balance! I think you’re right though, we have to rely on God for protection and the Holy Spirit for wisdom.

    • Kylee

      Praying God would guide your conversations with this neighbor, to give you words to say and also discretion to know when to disengage :)

    • Jenny

      I will pray for you! Maybe just bring them some homemade cookies! It’s very neighborly and you can know in your heart you reached out with kindness! If they respond with creepiness….well….then you were right along lol

  • Heather Fringer

    As hard as some people make it to love them, this is something that I am working on daily.

  • Everyone is your neighbor. They don’t have to be living next to you, it can be someone from far away. Either at school, or your job, or anywhere else. Just love them freely.

  • ” The love that we give is by His power and for His glory.” Oh Lord help me remember that without you I am empty and completely unable to love as you do. Fill me with you, so that I may love with your love and for you ultimate glory!

    • Alicia Mack

      Thank you for sharing your prayer. I am adding it to my daily reminders! :-)

  • Keri McCue

    This is so convicting today. I work downtown and I so very often pass by men and women standing on the sidewalk asking for food or a bit of change. And I walk by them. I think this series is coming at the perfect time for us. As Christians we are called to love those around us. I love this, “To truly love God, we must also love people.” So true!!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

    • Bryanna Horton

      I agree with what you said. It’s ironic that you say that because I work downtown as well! Seeing all of those people hungry just wanting some food or something to drink just breaks my heart. So many times I have just driven by and ignored the fact that they are in need. I ignored the fact even though we as Christian’s are the ones who are called to reach them. This study is really allowing me to step back and check my self. Thank you for sharing. This study is awesome!!

    • Stacy

      Sometimes loving God feels abstract but then I remember Jesus asking Peter if he loves him and Jesus directing him “then, feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17. When we love God we love others in action

  • Christine Loyce otin

    May the Good Lord Jesus Christ bless you and you are blessed beyond

  • At my previous apartment, I got to know my elderly neighbor. He was a widower and just needed someone to talk to. I would go over and just sit with him as he spoke of his dead wife, his hobbies, his health, or whatever topic came to mind. Those were some of my fondest memories in that apartment. Some days I didn’t feel like visiting with him but once I sat down with him those feelings went away. We were content just being there. I know some people are harder to love, but if we force ourselves to find SOMETHING kind to say or do, it opens the door for so many more possibilities. I am loving this study!!!

  • I have LOVED the start of this new series… very powerful! The worksheet is already helping me to live out my daily time with the Lord. I wrote a letter for my neighbor today. Praying it leads to more room continually being made for her and her family! Thank you for a great look at what it looks like to love our neighbors, especially in the midst of such divisiveness in the world. May we all become more focused on loving our neighbors than on our differences.

    • Angie

      Tessa, what worksheet are you referring to?? Sounds helpful…

      • Jennifer

        Angie, there is a worksheet in the printed book version of the study following each day’s scripture. It has questions relating to the verses and asks you to think and pray for someone that relates to the topic (other, neighbor, etc.). Very cool!

  • Having bought our first house, I’ve been praying that God will give me the opportunity to meet and get to know my actual neighbors. I would love to be a part of a close knit community!

  • Working for Samaritan Ministries (a health sharing ministry) I hear these verses a lot. Luke 10:25-37 is all over our office building. It’s easy for me to idealize this passage and think I’m pretty great for writing a check every month to share in a strangers medical need. But I’m not actually doing anything, it’s not hard to write a check, it’s not hard for me to send it in the mail. I’m not the one taking care of the sick person or holding them when they cry. The challenge to me was at the end, when it struck me how little I actually do to invest in the lives of those around me. However, the Holy Spirit is so good to just gently nudge my heart in practical ways to be joy and Jesus to those (no matter how easy or hard to love) in my path. It might mean giving grace to a difficult coworker or to be patient with my elderly neighbors who just need a good (long) chat because they are lonely. This was so encouraging for me, and challenging too!

    • Eve

      SO thankful for Samaritan’s Ministries! They have been such a blessing to my family when we could no longer pay $800 month for health insurance.

  • Lord, open our eyes
    that we may see you in our brothers and sister.
    Lord, open our ears
    That we may hear the cries of the hungry,
    the cold, the frightened, the oppressed.
    Lord, open our hearts
    that we may love each other as you love us.
    Lord, free us and make us one.
    Amen
    ~ Mother Teresa

  • I’m currently on the sofa off sick with flu….had I not been on the sofa I would have been at the course I have been on these past 13 weeks…Freedom in Christ…
    As I organized to be on the course, the lady sitting near me in the office expressed her desire to do the course but the thought of driving home, some 20+ miles and back meant she couldn’t do it. …Though we worked together, we did not associate much…yet I knew as soon as she had finished speaking, that I could help her…I could have her to my home, feed her and bring refreshed to the course ….I knew the importance of this course for me, and I would bet the same for this lady….I could make room for sure for this ‘neighbour’
    Over the weeks I have got to know her…and well. Today, I phoned her to say I probably wouldn’t be on the course and that I was sorry to let her down…she said…’You have been a blessing these past weeks, feeding me, a place to chill without stressing, thank you so much for your hospitality, kindness, love, time and hears….’
    Funny that, cos most days I eat alone in the evenings…for 12 weeks, I WAS blessed with a new friend to share with… Thank you Lord God ..thank you…

    Okay, so this lady was easy to make room for, a work colleague…but here’s the thing, I had never really had a conversation with her…I knew not a lot about her…but I trusted that God would be in the mix…after all we both wanted to be on a course that would free us to be the Daughters of the King, who makes room for all…Amen.

    Greetings and love to ALL…xxx

    • Samantha Cordialini

      What a beautiful story, Tina! Thank you for sharing. How funny it is that while we are outreaching to others, we are blessed in turn; often twice as much. Our Father loves to see His children building relationships with each other and sharing a table. Blessings to you, sister!

    • Kelly R Smith

      I love this example of what it means to make room for someone on your path! Sending get well wishes your way!

  • With all the chaos happening in the world lately, I have seriously struggled to love others. Especially, others who disagree with my beliefs. Over the past few days I have felt the gentle nudge of the Lord asking me to get into the word and see what He says about this matter. It wasn’t by chance that this was the devotion for today. Thank you for speaking truth and being the vessel the Lord as called this ministry to be!

  • We can love, through the power of Christ, even when we don’t “feel” loving or loved back. Love is bigger than sentimentality. I think it is easy to get caught up in the “Hallmark” idea that loving others should be easy or should always bring a good result that we can see. Often, we don’t receive a tangible reward for loving others and sometimes, we (I) can feel unappreciated and unnoticed and taken for granted. Love is hard. Loving the unlovely is hard. But in doing so, our hearts become more lovely a little at a time.

    • Betsy P.

      Bridget, I love this! My husband is a psychology professor and studies emotions, and he would agree: true, actual love is a decision, not a feeling. By deciding to love, we choose to put another’s needs before our own, forgive, offer grace even when undeserved, and act to help carry burdens that are not our own. It’s so true what you said: when we choose to love from a place of humility (or even invisibility), we often notice our own hearts softening too :)

  • Jess Gardiner

    We are called to the labour of love but it is God that makes the work fruitful. I get so overwhelmed seeing so many needs and prayers and easily get guilty that I’m not doing enough. But even Jesus took breaks from the overwhelming crowds to go be with His Father and prayer. Only by loving God and spending time with Him, can I be equipped to love others HIS way. To miss this, is to love in my own strength, which will be exhausting and frustrating. No, I do what I can guided by His Spirit and I entrust the work to Him. He can multiply it and make it more fruitful than I could ever dream.

    • Rachel

      Love this. it’s so tempting to try and live in my own strength, but only through Him can I truly be equipped to love others as He intended.

  • Churchmouse

    Oh how I wish I lived in Mister Rogers neighborhood! Then this loving business would be so much easier. We would just wear nice sweaters and tennis shoes and we would all just get along. Sigh. This world is so not that. Yet I am not exempt from Jesus’ command to love Him and love my neighbor just because people are often unlovely and it’s often inconvenient. The depth of my love for Him is revealed in how I love my neighbor. As with the good Samaritan, all I need is to see my neighbors with eyes of compassion and stop to be a helper. A simple act of kindness here and there says “we are all neighbors and I care.” Simple hospitality. Uncomplicated. And thus a beautiful day in my neighborhood.

    • Catie

      AMEN! Especially this day and age; everything is so political and people ignore the fact that we are all flesh and blood. We can’t get along because of our appearances or our views; that’s not why God put us on earth! Hopefully one day, we can look past our differences and help each other out. Then our world would be such a more beautiful place.

  • Churchmouse

    Technical issues

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi churchmouse! Are you still experiencing technical issues? So happy to help if you’d email me!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • This study, and today in particular, has really struck home for me. I just had this thought that maybe God is loving each of us THROUGH loving others. When I focus on myself and my problems, it’s so hard for me to even function. But if I remember that I have a purpose, that He has a plan for me, and that includes loving others, then I start feeling like a whole person again.

    I pray that I continue to learn to love God and love others. I’ll be starting with the people close to me, and then working my way out from there. But, one step at a time.

  • I remember that as a teen when I first became a Christian I found it really hard to love some people. I discussed it with my mom and she told me to ask God to love that person through me. It really helps!

  • I loved this reading this morning. It struck me that the two commands are in an order for a reason. I feel so frustrated lately with the world that the banner of love for people is being intensified, but love for God is optional. Not in his church, but in society. If we love God first the second should be an outflow naturally. And if we are trying to be like Jesus, we do only what the Father tells us to do. I’m just crazy enough to think that if all God’s people listened to their assignment, then all the neighbors of the world would be helped. Renewing my ears to listen and my eyes to see with compassion today!

  • Thank you for sharing, CeCe. I have long accepted that I do not have the gift of evangelism, but it does not mean I can’t give the gift of love. I can act daily to intentionally seek the face of God in those around me. That is progress!

  • I hope that this post won’t seem too off topic, but as a regular SRT studier with all of you, it’s something that’s been on my mind and I just know that some of you would be able to help me. This study in particular is drawing it near to me once more… My nephew & Godson will be confirmed in June and I want to get him a teen devotional or series of books that at 13 he will both love and “stick with” if you know what I mean. Something God can use to draw him closer and help keep him close even after his Sunday school classes end. I don’t have children so I am not familiar with what’s out there and when I look around I can’t tell what kids of that age will find appealing, too cheesy etc ;). I know that prayer and example are the greatest gifts I can give him, and I intend to keep those promises with Gods help, but if any of you have ideas and personal experience with something I can get him to help him in his journey with Christ in his own personal study I would love to know. Thanks for all of your comments always – they encourage and inspire me on MY journey everyday.

    • Maddie

      I don’t know if this is helpful or not. But I remember at the age of 13 sometimes the Bible was hard to understand and make personable. Maybe you could get him a “teen” copy of the Bible in the Message version.

    • Catherine

      When I was 13, I remember recieving a Bible with my name engraved on the bottom. It was fairly simple, but I thought it was so cool because it was mine. So, maybe something personalized? I felt more attached to it than a random book!

  • This hit me so hard today. We recently got a new foster placement, on top of having a baby. It has felt SO hard and I’ve wanted to quit every day. I don’t always feel like loving him and I try to do it on my own strength. But I’m reminded God’s resources are endless, his love and strength abounds in our inadequacy. Pressing in to experience that “other-worldly love” and be able to pour it into my kids.

    • Sabrina Klomp

      Praying for you, Juliet!

    • Alanna Davis

      Praying for you! The early days of a foster placement are hard as you get to know the child that has suddenly been placed in your normal while remembering that they are also facing a new normal. May God give you and your family the strength, courage, patience, and kindness to love this child as He loves you!

    • Sabrina Klomp

      Juliet, I was praying for you this morning and would love to share something with you– could I have your email address?

  • Definitely hits hard right where God intended it…Amen!!

  • This is a very important lesson and also a difficult one, at least for me personally. I agree with Katie because some people are definitely easier to love. Honestly, for me it’s hard to show love to those who are unfair, who do wrongful things, who have wronged me or my family, who probably don’t deserve it. But Jesus did the same for us when we didn’t deserve it. I know what it was like to feel like you’re completely alone, ignored and unwanted. I want Jesus to fill me with so much love that I can pour it out to everyone, especially those who are in desperate need of it. The point is to glorify God, make Him happy and in turn we can even make other people feel good too. It’ll definitely be a struggle sometimes for me, but I want to get to that point where I just want to make God happy and show His love and mercy.

  • Diane Huntsman

    When all my justified “unloving” self takes my eyes off of all the reasons it’s so hard to love the hard to love and set my gaze upon the cross and hear those words ” Father forgive them they know not what they do” it all melts into a big puddle of nothingness.. none of my justifications hold any weight next to a love like that.. and there in lies the reason I fall prey to being unloving, my gaze is not fixated on Him it’s fixated on them, those who fail.. the strength to love will always be found only in Him and my focus needs to be Him in order to imitate Him.. social media, tv, and a plethora of other time consuming ways of life will not give me the power to love.. time in His presence, time meditating on His truths, these will give me that power I lack.. there is no short cut to becoming like Jesus.. time with Him is the silver bullet.

  • This feels like a hard lesson today in light of a hostile political climate. I find myself asking, “where do I put my hope?” It is not dashed or built up by human. All I am called to do is love boldly!

  • What a beautiful reminder that we are all God’s children. It’s so much easier said than done, but through the Spirit of Christ living within us we are able!
    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • brookeinhd

    Yesterday in our reading, we read about giving with simplicity. Sometimes I can feel so overwhelmed by the suffering in the world that I don’t know where to start…it seems too big. However, I can make room. I can show love in simplicity and practice casting stones to make ripples.  ‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’ ~ Mother Teresa

    • Adrienne Lehman

      Thanks for sharing that quote, because I agree that it’s overwhelming to know how to show love to sooo many people. But, as we were reminded, it’s not our deeds of kindness that do any good, it’s the love of Christ motivating us, and it’s His power that will make our meager efforts worth anything at all. We just need to cast the stone.

    • Betsy P

      Oh I love this, and understand exactly how you feel! Praying that God would help all of us see the simple, small, seemingly unimportant moments where we can make room for our neighbors :)

  • I often feel guilty when I read the story of the Good Samaritan because I’m not “out there” meeting people in need and doing the work of the Lord. I have two very small kids and just getting to the grocery store once a week is a challenge! In today’s devotion what struck me is that the Good Samaritan and the man were “on the same road” and that’s where he saw him and helped him. I felt such relief reading this—I don’t need to go out and find people who need help, I just need to be open to loving those who are in the same road as me. I’m praying that God open my eyes to see how I can love the people I happen to be on the same road with. There are probably more of them than I realizes.

    • Naomi

      I’m right there with you CeCe, as a home-schooling mom who also works part-time and am the daughter of an invalid, widowed mother, it is overwhelming! And yes, sometimes getting to the grocery store is a challenge! But I just do what I can. Things like babysitting for my friend who is a single mom and runs herself ragged trying to be all things to her kids…just to name one.

  • Teri Lynne Underwood

    Start where we are with what we have.

    As I read these passages and the comments, I was struck (again) by how inclined we are to make the commands of Christ far more complex than He intends. The Samaritan saw the need in front of him and used what he had available to meet it.

    How often am I guilty of bemoaning my lack of resources and opportunity to meet the needs of others “over there” while I am neglecting the privilege and responsibility of connecting with those right in front of me.

  • In our world of so many compromises and deceptions, it’s hard to get a good grip on what “love” is. Jesus showed love to people many times by showing them truth and teaching them in hard ways. It seems people think you don’t love or not showing love if you disagree with them and try to bring God’s Word into light in a situation. Sometimes loving someone is speaking truth and not wavering. But then that is misinterpreted as not loving someone. I loved my children and my foster children by speaking truth to them and not agreeing with their poor choices. Love is multifaceted but the world wants to blur what true love is. How do we truely love and hold truth without fear of prople thinking you are unloving?

  • Sometimes the deepest poverty our neighbor suffers from is a spiritual one. While we may be called to “give everything away”–I remember what was most convicting about the Good Samaritan story–he stopped for a Levite. A true ‘other’, and even an enemy.

    We are called to love where it hurts, and sometimes that may not be materially. We are called to love with a radical love that purifies not only the beloved, but the lover herself. When we step out in that kind of love, we are changed.

    • Sarah

      So true! Thanks for this reminder!!

    • Elle

      Truly a thought provoking and convicting story. Also, my understanding is that the man was a Jew, not a Levite which has even more striking reasons as to why the situation was so unique. Blessings!

  • Danielle Frakes

    Loving people who frustrate me, are different than me, or grew up differently is something that challenges me. I like being in my comfort zone and I don’t like to bother people who are different. It keeps me out of trouble. But when I do challenge myself it’s rewarding and it changes me for the better.

  • Ashley Motes

    I believe “The Good Samaritan” is one of the hardest stories in the Bible because loving our neighbor is the most difficult for us to accomplish. Some think that we have to give people everything we own to help them out so they decide to turn the other way when something small is all that’s needed or required. Yes, there may be times like that but what does Jesus say? Give everything you have away? We’re socially trained to look away at homeless or people in need because they’re lying and will use our help for something we weren’t told. I pray we would begin to look at people as a neighbor in need and love them as Jesus has loved us. We were in the ditch and he lifted us out and now it’s time to pay it forward.

  • Pam Seipp

    So wonderful connection! My 2017 Resolution is to “love like him”. Having recognized areas where I was a bit weak in 2016 I captured this idea; this study fully supports Mr resolution and is giving me awesome Biblical references. Thanks SRT!

    • IAB

      I love the simplicity of this statement “Love Like Him” especially as I am teaching my children to serve others – and look for those opportunities- I am loving this study – one of my favorites of SRT !

    • She Reads Truth

      Love this, Pam! Thanks for sharing!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Kelly R Smith

    Love people. This command can overwhelm. There are so many people. Because of easy access to information, we can find so many people groups who need help out of the ditch. Our Facebook feeds are inundated with prayer needs, charitable causes, and news stories of the hurting. Where do we begin? Answer: “They were both journeying on the same road.” Start with that person right in front of you. I will start with my family, meeting the needs of my children and loving my husband well. Then I will travel down the road to meet the needs of my dad recovering from surgery. At some point today, I will be in the community–at the market, the gym, basketball practice. Someone on my path will need a hand. There is a time to reach out to those not directly in our path, to invite someone to be our neighbor. Let’s not get paralyzed by the great needs of all the people and miss the needs right in front of us. Lord, keep my eyes open to see those needs and give me the courage to meet them.

  • Margrietvw

    There is a Swedish proverb that says: ‘Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I need it most’. I think that goes for all of us. When you’re just moody, when you ruin things, when you make bad decisions… And I do think my ‘neighbor’ has nothing to do with location. Judging someone is the opposite of loving them. Judging someone’s actions and trying to show them God’s way is something important, I think. God does the same for us!

  • Well this hits you in the head for sure. Definitely needed this today.

  • Love God love people… A principle teaching at our church. It is easier to love God than to love people, and I know I am hard to love sometimes as well. This study is really hitting home and I’m glad to jump in and hear what God had to say

  • I believe it’s those that are the most difficult ones to love that need love the most. We never know what makes some people difficult, so compassion for them is important for them and for me. I have to admit though, it took awhile for me not to be like the guys in the Bible who crossed to the other side of the street.

  • Here’s some things that came to mind when I was answering the question of how to make room for my neighbor. Love God – pay attention – smile at people – be kind and patient – have a sense of humor – don’t take myself and my stuff so seriously – stay off the phone when I’m around others – LISTEN – pray for opportunities. I think the list could go on, but this is a start. I pray that today God will make all of us aware of our neighbors that we will be able to love them well.

    • Autumn

      These examples are great Kathy! Love your neighbor sounds like a huge undertaking until you think about the small things you can do everyday. Good reminder.

  • Hello… its a struggle to love those who are nasty to others, but i have found that when you show even the littlest love to them, it softens their hearts… even though its slightly and just for a little while.

  • Michele Nelson

    Thank you. I am a stepmother and I have trouble with my step daughter’s real mother always telling them negative things about me. I love the the girls very much and its very hard for me to love their mother too.

    • Jenn Jones

      I’ll be praying for you and your relationship with your stepdaughters mother

    • Christine

      I struggle deeply with the same problem, loving my kids “real” mother. She is neglectful and dismissive of me whenever I bring up any problems. I have been with my kids most of their lives and I love them as my own. I have great difficulty forgiving her and being civil to her, never mind loving her. Lifting you and your family up in prayer this morning Michele.

    • Amber

      Michele,
      My mom was so mean and manipulative to my stepmom growing up. Things eventually got easier for my stepmother as we grew up and each got married and moved away and she didn’t have to have as many dealings with my mother. But there were lots of tears of frustration and hurt on the part of my step mother before then. My step mother was like a tree bending in a hurricane…strong and persevering and lovely in the calm. She never retaliated or said unkind things about my mother, and I appreciated that very much. She showed us how to love the unloveable by her example. Hurting people hurt others. My mom has been so badly hurt. At my wedding, my mother actually went up to my stepmother, gave her a hug, and said “Thank you for the way you’ve raised and loved Amber!” Her eyes glistened with tears. She meant it. My step mother was an example even to my mother who had hurt her so deeply. I love that. Hang in there and stay the course! Your girls will only be blessed by your example of love!

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