Updated 29th November 2021
If asked to define a neighbour, who comes to mind? I bet it will be the family who lives across the road or the brother who lives down the street. When we think of our neighbours, our minds are directed towards people who live close to us. Honestly, we are not wrong because, indeed, they are your neighbours. However, when Jesus referred to neighbours, we can see in His word that He had greater scope than the human mind could comprehend.
Jesus places the idea of neighbors on an immense scale, it is so important to Him, and you can see it in His word. When asked about the greatest commandment, He said, “Love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mathew 22:37-39)
It is impossible to love God with all your heart and soul and not love your neighbor because, according to Jesus, if you love God, you will also love your neighbor.
Who is your neighbour? According to Jesus, a neighbour is not just someone near you.
A neighbour is anyone that God has placed in our path to know, love, and serve. He expects us to be good neighbours to those who need us, as the example of the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Someone reading this is wondering why they need to love their neighbor? Let me answer you.Jesus places the idea of neighbors on an immense scale, it is so important to Him, and you can see it in His word. Click To Tweet
To love your neighbor is very important. It goes beyond showing up and caring for them. We need to understand that loving our neighbor fulfills God’s great commandments, love God, love people.
How do we love our neighbor? Here are three ways to do so:
1. Love like Christ
The love of Christ transcends all barriers; being a good neighbor means we can love those we don’t know and those different from us. Acting like a good neighbor can be easy when dealing with people we like, people similar to us.
In our neighborhood, we might find it easier to connect with one neighbor more than another. When we love like Christ, familiarity and fondness don’t factor in helping someone in need. Love transcends all barriers.In our neighborhood, we might find it easier to connect with one neighbor more than another. When we love like Christ, familiarity and fondness don't factor in helping someone in need. Love transcends all barriers. Click To Tweet
With love, you are kind to your neighbor and generous; you are at peace with them. You develop a heart to serve; serving from the heart is kindness in action. Jesus said he came to serve (Mathew 20:28), love serves. For you to love your neighbor as Christ did, you will have a heart that serves.
2. Be hospitable to your neighbour
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” – James 2:15-16 NIV
We need to be hospitable to our neighbors. Take steps to get to know them, deepen your connection with them and love them through your actions while pointing them to Jesus. Hospitality is an attitude of the heart, it is God’s love acting itself out in tangible ways. You look out for their wellbeing, and you pay attention. You notice if they need something, and you help.We need to be hospitable to our neighbors. Take steps to get to know them, deepen your connection with them and love them through your actions while pointing them to Jesus. Click To Tweet
A heart of hospitality honors God through obedience. Sometimes hospitality will be downright hard because some people are easier to love than others. Still, love them all. In the Bible, hospitality is more than hosting a dinner party. It is depicted as selfless generosity. Whether the person at the doorstep is a friend or stranger, you are hospitable. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless cheerfully.
It’s good to give gifts and money, but what about being present telling them about helpful opportunities, giving a listening ear, offering advice when asked, patronising and publicising their business? All these are part of the practical ways you can show love to your neighbour.
3. Be compassionate
This is something that some of us cannot identify with. Often, we hear stories of our neighbors in need, and we turn to look away. Sometimes it may be that the need feels too great and can be overwhelming and daunting to face. Sometimes we might even feel like we have nothing to offer. We ask ourselves, how do we be good neighbors when there is so much need?We are called to be a good neighbor like the good Samaritan. to everyone, both near and far. Click To Tweet
When it feels so overwhelming! Truth be told, when we allow ourselves to be moved with compassion in the depths of our hearts, we are moved to be like the good Samaritan in action. Compassion yields action! When love is the motivator, compassion is compelling. Even when it seems like we can’t do much, compassion finds a way.
In conclusion, Jesus is our greatest example. There are instances in the Bible of how Jesus emphasized on loving your neighbor. In Luke 10:37, Jesus references the actions of the Samaritan man and instructs the expert to go and do likewise. Ask yourself why am I here at this time? Maybe you are the voice of help; perhaps you are the answer. Ask the father, why am I here at this place?
4. Pray for your neighbour
Prayer is such a powerful, thoughtful and important way to demonstrate love to your neighbour. Pray for their salvation, their growth, their businesses, their health, specific challenges that you know about. Pray for them because you know that your prayers avail much and can change things.
5. Preach the gospel to your neighbour
What shall it profit a man to gain the world and lose His soul? What shall it profit anybody to be so satisfied in this life and yet suffer eternally?
Preaching the gospel to your neighbour is the ultimate show of love. No matter how long a person lives (and some may not even live long), eternity is far longer!
If you believe the gospel, you would preach it. If indeed you believe Jesus is the only way to be saved, you would be concerned if your neighbour has not believed in Him.
This should be a charge to us, and we are called to be a good neighbor like the good Samaritan. to everyone, both near and far.
Did you enjoy this article? You can also read “10 Ways To Be A Better Friend“.
Written by Okpala Chisom Sheryl & Favour Ndakara