Love for Neighbor

Open Your Bible

Leviticus 18:1-30, Leviticus 19:1-37, Psalm 133:1-2, Galatians 5:13-16

This year my two oldest kids have become the best of friends and also the worst of enemies. The way they provoke one another exhausts a mother and necessitates the response: “you are a team, and you need to make this right because a team is at its best when it is operating together.” I wish I could tell you that my kids immediately respond in kindness. Instead, it often takes prompting and tears until they have resolved their conflict and decided they are buds again.

When it comes to making things right with our community, we too need external prompting—from the Holy Spirit. It isn’t as simple as it sounds to love your neighbor when we are prone to looking out for “me, myself and I.” In Leviticus 19, God offers a plan for a redemptive community that is unlike the world’s culture. In the world, people abuse and cheat to get ahead. They lie and steal to look better than their neighbor. They harbor revenge and let little issues spin into lifetime rifts. The world is fickle with its love and glorifies one’s success at the expense of another—if something or someone stands in your way, you have the right to take advantage of it. 

The family of God can often feel not so different from the world’s relational drama. Paul warns the church of what will happen if they treat one another like the world treats one another: “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:15). The devil prowls around like a lion looking to cause division in the church, your communities, and your households. But God says, “How delightfully good when brothers live together in harmony!” (Psalm 133:1).

God doesn’t see people or communities as expendable commodities. He sees them as image-bearers (Genesis 1:26), beloved, cherished members of His family. So, God calls His people to fulfill the laws of holiness by “[loving] your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). 

God’s community is different; it is set apart from the world to be an example of His holy communion. Because we are a team in the family of God, we can count the cost of relationships, as Christ counted the cost for us and lay down our lives for one another. In Christ’s loving-kindness, we can find the courage to fight for unity and wrestle with forgiveness even when it feels impossible.

When we find it impossible to work out our differences, I know Jesus makes it possible. Yes, there is work to be done when we would rather retaliate than restore relationships, but God is doing a good work in each of us. Moving us towards respectful care for one another—a holy unity.

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38 thoughts on "Love for Neighbor"

  1. Sarah Ritchie says:

    I will pray for Marie and her child today.

  2. Sarah Ritchie says:

    What a beautiful connection Kenya, thank you for sharing!

  3. Allison Bentley says:

    I too fell in love with Leviticus today! It’s all just came together- maybe not a perfect package but one with a crooked bow (me). Thank you Jesus for your bloodshed!! Praying for you sisters today- that we all can obey the Father and reap the benefits of His love!!!

  4. Maria Baer says:

    Oh JENNIFER LOVES JESUS— thank you for this beautiful prayer.

  5. Eileen Dowd says:

    Today I fell in love with Leviticus! Who knew! It took you all, my SRT sisters, to dig deep and read Gods Word and honestly begin to comprehend God’s laws and His reasons. Wow. Sisters, please pray that I would eat a bit better, I’ve lost weight I don’t need to lose! Everyone, be blessed md have a lovely weekend!✨✨✨

  6. Jennifer Loves Jesus says:

    There is a profound sweetness of calm as my heart remains anchored to God. As we wait for answers, or healing, or relief from pain, there are shadows of unknown before us. Slow down. Let the peace of God quiet our minds and rest our heart on Him. He will provide. Answers will come. Relief will come. As we trust, God will work. Whether walking or waiting, we are called to live by the Spirit. Kindness will color the moments that pass and create a testimonial tapestry for those we encounter in our day to day living. One breath at a time. God’s supernatural power to strengthen and provide shows up best when His people display the fruit of trusting Him in the hardest trials. Jesus showed us how to love from hard places. Worry will not change the hard things, but will only bring despair and a clouded heart. Only a calm heart, trusting our Holy Father, will settle and strengthen us. Let there be love and mercy and peace flowing out of our lives. By God alone we can do all things through Jesus who strengthens us. He walked it out first. We only need to reach out and take His hand. May we love well today. May I love well today. Father, help me love well today for You. Because You are for me. Bring healing and recovery, hope and courage, joy in Jesus. Amen.

  7. Danielle B says:

    @jenniferlovesJesus praying your mom’s surgery went well and she is recovering peacefully

  8. Angie Mills says:

    God commands us to be holy because He is holy. He also commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    It is significant that the call to holiness toward our neighbors comes AFTER the provision for atonement. We cannot be holy or love our neighbors as ourselves in our own strength. We will fail. We fail constantly at doing this. We need atonement for these sins. God provided that atonement through Jesus. As a redeemed people, living by the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us, we are transformed into people who can be holy and love our neighbors as ourselves.

    Today’s reading opened with the truth “I am the Lord Your God.” This truth was reiterated after every type of command given. We are to obey God and follow His ways because He is Lord. He is our Ruler & Master. He is our King.

    The first command given in these chapters are for the people not to follow the practices of the land of Egypt, where they used to live, or to follow the practices of the land of Canaan, where the Lord is bringing them. We are not to follow the ungodly practices of the past or the ungodly practices that will come in the future. We are to follow God and His ways now.