Transformed by the Word: Loving our next-door neighbours
By Lyn Wake | Wycliffe Today Autumn 2023
We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 (NLT)
Jesus calls us to express our love for God by loving our neighbours, as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). Yet, to be frank, loving the people God has placed in my neighbourhood is difficult and does not come naturally. My neighbours think differently than the way I do. Some speak a different language from me. Most of them hold different beliefs and values from me. All this difference makes it challenging to connect with them and share the love of Christ.
After the challenges of the past few years, I was exhausted. As I struggled to complete my end-of-year tasks, loving my next-door neighbours became a ‘duty’ that fell to the bottom of the list. By avoiding the call to ‘love my neighbours’, I was flooded with guilt. Then I went to Jesus. His caring response shifted my burden: ‘Simply fill your life with my love, then love from the overflow’.
As I put this invitation into practice, God’s love inspired me to extend a dinner invitation to one neighbour – an invitation that was accepted. It has opened the way to loving that neighbour well through an ongoing friendship. It was a small but easy step to take that sprang from the natural overflow of saturating myself in the love of Christ.
Here in the Asia-Pacific region, we share global next-door neighbours. Many of these neighbours think differently from the way we do. Most of them relate best by using different languages. They live differently, and may hold different beliefs and values from us. Cultural differences can make it challenging to build connections and share the love of Christ with others.
Yet, loving our neighbours is possible when we go to God in prayer and saturate our lives in his love. This frees us to build connections, not with a heavy sense of duty but with the ease of relationships that reflect the love of Christ.
For reflection: As you saturate yourself in Christ’s love, listen for the invitation he is calling you to extend to a neighbour today.
Be transformed by the Word as you engage with: Matthew 22:34–40 & 1 John 4:7–19.
Prayer: Lord, help me to live a life deeply saturated in your love. Make me a vessel of your love to bless the neighbours who live on my street, and on my global doorstep. Amen.