Love for a Neighbor
Years ago I saw a man about doing a survey.1 The kind where questions are asked, answers collected, and data reviewed. I described my righteous cause, the public benefit, and the powerful who opposed it. He thought a moment.
“Surveys depend on the wording of the questions and the people who are asked. I can create a survey to support anything. So what do you want yours to tell the world?” “The truth,” I replied. “Well…there’s not much success in that.”
I remembered that recently when I saw a question on Facebook: Do you wear a mask in public? (Just yes or No). This mini-survey was flawed in many ways.2 But most important for those who follow Jesus, it failed to ask a critical question.
Do you love your neighbor?
How do we respond? Yes…No…Maybe…Sometimes? Jesus said the second greatest commandment is, Love your neighbor as yourself. 3 He also said those who love Him do what He tells them to do.4 This is important. So what else did Jesus say?
Neighbors are family, friends, those who agree with us and those who don’t. They live nearby and faraway. They are also the arrogant, prideful, and selfish, even the enemies of God…as we all were once.
We must treat them as we want to be treated—with compassion, mercy and forgiveness. We must be more concerned about their welfare than our convenience. We must love them even if the law says we don’t have to.
Our rights never outweigh loving others.
Peter urged us to be sympathetic toward others, love as brothers and sisters, and be humble. James said if we find those in need but do nothing, our faith is worthless. John asked, if we refuse to help them, how can the love of God be in us? 5
Now apply this to those masks. Some help the wearer, but the greater benefit is for those nearby. If they are medically weak and need protecting, will we do nothing? If we can wear a mask but refuse to, how can the love of God be in us?
This isn’t about just wearing a mask, but loving our neighbors. It’s about setting aside our wants, rights and convenience to care for someone else. It’s about following Jesus who put everything aside for us. Maybe the real question is…Do we love Him?
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. Also an author and speaker, Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) Surveys and polls can be very useful, but also easily manipulated to get desired results. (2) This survey never gave a reason for wearing the mask, allowing the assumption it related to COVID-19. It also failed to say whether wearing the mask in public was occasional, continuous, or depended on circumstances. (3) Read Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31. (4) Read John 14:21,23. (5) Read 1 Peter 3:8, James 2:15-17, 1 John 3:17.
Pictures: Banner Shot: Protesters in Pleasanton, California, USA, by Jose Carlos Fajardo, Bay Area News Group.