I recently had someone share some scriptures with me. The person told they knew the scriptures were definitely for them, but they felt they might be for our church as well. The scriptures were all from Galatians 5, but the ones that stood out to me the most were verses 14 -16.
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘“Love your neighbor as yourself.’” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” -Galatians 5:14-16
The pastor I served under before planting a church used to tell me, “Nothing is personal, everything is spiritual.” It’s a great reminder that our battles are not against flesh and blood—they’re not against people. Our battles are against the principalities and powers of a broken world. And the enemy loves nothing more than to see Christians “bite and devour each other”.
It’s sad how much division we see in the church and it’s all because we fail to love our neighbor as ourself. We have a tendency to bite and devour others when they think or believe differently than us. We fail to realize or remember that we’re all human and that the life of another isn’t always what it seems from our vantage point.
I love Bob Goff. He is an amazing author and speaker who truly inspires love and compassion. Now, if you’ve ever seen Bob Goff, you may have noticed that he frequently wears a Boston Red Sox hat. I just assumed that he was originally from Boston or that it was his favorite team for some reason.
Well, I recently watched him speak on a church video podcast and found out that he isn’t a Red Sox fan. He doesn’t even follow baseball or any sports for that matter. It’s actually a hat that belonged to his neighbor who passed away several years ago. She was a die-hard Red Sox fan and Bob and his wife loved her through her final years. He was an excellent example of loving his neighbor as himself.
And in her last week, when they knew she only had a few days left, he told her he would make a deal with her. He would wear her Red Sox hat and support her team for the rest of his life if she promised to put a good word in for him with Jesus.
We’re people who often make snap judgments or assumptions about people or things when we don’t know the whole story—whether good, bad, or neutral. But if we want to be people who truly “Love our Neighbors,” we need to realize there is always more to the story than what we see. Instead of biting and devouring people, maybe we need to take time to get to know them and discover their greater story.Lord, we want to be people who love our neighbors the way you desire us to. Help us to see beyond our assumptions and misunderstandings and love people with your grace and compassion.