Dating our neighbor

This is probably one of the most quoted statements in the bible.

It can be found in numerous places throughout scripture, and we reference it frequently.

Some find it difficult to love the foreigners among us.

I’m certain that all of us identify with a group of people from a particular life circumstance or background and are filled with compassion and love for them.

I will pray for my neighbors’ circumstances, salvation, and walk with the Lord. I will pray for my neighbors, especially the ones I least want to pray for. I’ll rejoice and mourn I will walk alongside my neighbors. We take it to extremes—we often become self-righteous and judgmental or we refuse to point out areas in others’ lives where God wants to bring freedom and truth.

I will rejoice when they rejoice and mourn when they mourn. I’ll ask hard questions about myself I’ll ask myself hard questions. I declare that I will love my neighbor by refusing to house a judgmental spirit.

We find it easy to love those neighbors as we love ourselves.

SEE ALSO: 10 Ways to Love Your Neighbor without Being Weird Others find it difficult to love the white man who works on Wall Street, the black man in political office, the Hispanic woman who’s risen up the corporate ladder, or the Muslim woman who’s fighting for her rights.Our neighbor is the woman we call a gossip who worships right beside us, the young teen who graffitis the neighborhood playground, the teacher whose curriculum we question, and the man who attends a church that’s not in our denomination. SEE ALSO: 10 ways to love your neighbor And, are we willing to show love, mercy, and compassion?The issue isn’t who our neighbor is and who we’re supposed to love. Will we get caught up in who we should help and love, how often we’re supposed to, and how much; or will we simply allow the Holy Spirit to work through us?I will align my spirit with theirs as I say, “I’ll give thanks with you and I’ll cry with you.” I’ll bear the burden of the pain and anguish, because I know that Christ is the ultimate burden-bearer, and I’ll shout for joy in tandem with their cries of thanksgiving and praise. I’ll learn and be teachable Christ’s ways are often hard and challenging, and I’ll choose the harder path. I’ll allow my neighbors to challenge my heart without taking offense or becoming bitter. I’ll accept constructive criticism as the pathway that draws me closer to Christ. I refuse to focus on the sin in my neighbor’s life as opposed to the sin in my own.I will, however, be bold enough to challenge my neighbor in love and to pray for areas of bondage, pain, injustice, and sin in his life.