Thursday, August 02, 2007

Love Your Neighbor

There are 6.5 billion people who inhabit planet earth. More than two billion of them, or one out of every three persons, claim to be Christians. According to the latest research from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, most non-Christians have never met a real Christian. It is estimated that as many as 86 percent of Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims have never known a Christian. Globally, more than 80 percent of all non-Christians do not personally know a Christian.

This reveals a serious crisis for Christians. It appears that we have assigned ourselves to a gospel ghetto, in which we move only among those who share like faith and values. Our lives have been robbed of daily contact with non-Christians. Like His first disciples, we modern day followers of Jesus Christ have allowed our personal needs, likes, and dislikes to become superior to His command to love unsaved people. Isn’t it just like Jesus to disturb our comfort zone and lead us into some “Samaritan” city we would rather avoid, in order for people to come in contact with Christ? It is critical that we do not confuse our occasional journey out of our ghettos on a "mission" trip to be sufficient. We encounter people daily who have not yet met a "real" Christian. We need to pray expectantly: "Lord, open my eyes to see those you would have me love in your name."

Many of us confuse our emotions with our love; but, love is not primarily an emotion. It is a command. Love often requires that we put aside our personal likes, dislikes, and prejudices and see people the way Jesus does. We don't have to understand their ways, or like what entertains them, in order to reach out to them. Ultimately, we will all have to give an account to the Lord for exactly why we withheld love from people He called us to love. When Christ commanded us to love our enemies, He commanded action--not emotion.

During World War II, C.S. Lewis was asked to do a special radio series for the British people, describing the doctrines of Christianity. It originally aired on the BBC. These lectures were later compiled into a book called Mere Christianity. In discussing the Christian command to love your neighbor, Lewis declared that sometimes this comes easy and at other times it does not. “But though natural likings should normally be encouraged, it would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings. Some people are 'cold' by temperament; that may be a misfortune for them, but it is no more a sin than having a bad digestion is a sin; and it does not cut them out from the chance, or excuse them from the duty, of learning charity. The rule for all of us is perfectly simple: do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did.”

Ed Litton

3 comments:

Andy said...

What a great quote:

"The rule for all of us is perfectly simple: do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did.”

Anonymous said...

Love and Prayers...I have lost so many loved ones and the only thing that gets me through some days is just knowing they are in the presence of our Holy God...wow...To see Jesus our King the One that died for us...how wonderful..even though its sad for us and we weep for them...they are happy and do not worry about us.

Sincerely,
Cindy McNeil

Marcie said...

Pastor Ed,

You,and your family have been on my heart and mind since Tammy's departure from this world. I am so happy for Tammy, yet so sad that your hearts ache from missing her.
I do know that God WILL help you through THIS and trials to come. May you find comfort in knowing I will be praying for all of you for the rest of my days.

Love,
Marcie Hickman (Kitty Pinion's daughter)
Pace, FL
P.S. Our church, Hickory Hammock Baptist Church with Pastor Carl Gallups, sends their love also.