Romans 12: 1-21…. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Here’s the bottom line: Treat others as you would have them treat you. Love your neighbor as yourself. I’ve spent the greater portion of my ‘almost 80 years’… Loving no one; outside of my immediate family. I only knew ‘one kind of love.’ Everyone else was…. either, I liked them… or didn’t. Sure, I heard, and heard… “Love your neighbor as yourself,’ over and over… through the years. But, I THOUGHT… that didn’t apply to me. I did love my neighbor as myself. How so? Well… it’s simple. I didn’t LOVE myself. Still don’t. But I have discovered in the last several years… I was a ‘bit fascinated’ with myself. I didn’t really realize this fascination… either, til-one-day… I caught myself ‘eyeing’ myself in the mirror.’ Imagine….almost 80; and here I am… eyeing myself in the mirror. What has gotten into me? Tell you what. It was God… getting into me. He was calling me ‘out.’
God was pointing out to ME… that I did love myself. So, yes… I guess I did. Things changed. I loved myself… enough so, that I took good care of my health, my body, my brain… I didn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs… and, such that I am able… my spiritual life… my soul, was being nourished. With the help and the Grace of God, through His Son… Jesus Christ… I declare… ‘I LOVE myself.’ So, in that light… I LOVE my neighbor! I must protect him, feed him, and if necessary, cloth him, and house him… have empathy, sympathy, and compassion. That’s a big order! But, God has given me the time, talents, and treasures… to do… just THAT, to do as He asks. I have an obligation. I don’t have a choice. Ok…I do have a choice, but if I’m to be true to my FAITH… then my choice is limited to doing the ‘will of God.’
God was not going to ‘let me off the hook.’ I cannot escape … Loving my neighbor. (Darn it). I’m human. I can’t stand some of my neighbors. They don’t like me, and I don’t care for them, so much. But God’s commandment takes precedence over what I want. God TRUMPS my ‘worldly habits.’ How can I love God… and not love His children? How about you? If you’re anything like me… You’re in TROUBLE. It’s HARD. But… it’s POSSIBLE. It’s doable. I’m TRYING, dear Lord Jesus. Help me to be an ‘instrument of Your Peace, and a conduit of Your Love. Help me to ‘love my neighbor.’
God’s many blessings, as you, and I… seek a Godly love, for ‘our neighbor.’ … cjlb… 5/20/2019 (God Bless my family… for putting up with the likes of me for the last 60 years).