“’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” –Matthew 22:36-40
Jesus was clear. Our main job description while on earth is to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. Yet we find it more and more difficult to connect with those around us, especially if they aren’t just like us. We get hung up on the What if”s. What if we say something that offends our neighbor? What if we don’t agree with the way they live? What if we are put on the spot and things get weird? Or uncomfortable? What if they want us to mind our own business? These fears are often grounded in actual experiences, but sometimes we overthink things. Given Jesus’s clear direction in this area, it is our responsibility, and God’s beautiful gifted opportunity, to care for people. It doesn’t have to be weird, I promise.
The good news is it’s summer and the season lends itself to natural connections with those who live right around us. We’re outside more, at the park, playing in the driveway. We have more opportunities to cross our neighbors’ literal paths as we go about our days. But simply seeing someone more often, doesn’t automatically move us from stranger to neighbor, we may need to add some intentional gestures.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Daisy-Daisy