An Exercise In Loving Your Neighbor

street corner

Next time you’re out driving and you are stopped at a busy intersection, I want you to try something. Without getting too distracted and missing the green light (I don’t want to advocate reckless driving – so do this only for a few moments while stopped at a red light), take a look around at all the people you can spot – in cars, on the sidewalk, in parking lots, in the passing traffic, everywhere. As you look at each person, I want you to say this in your head, “God loves him/her the same as He loves me.” Don’t skip over anyone, if anything, seek the widest variety of people you can find.

I’ve done this a couple times and have always felt overwhelming comfort at the realization that I was surrounded by so much of God’s love. On the other hand, I also found that my heart could be a bit exposed to its weaknesses. See if you notice any difference in how you feel as you look at each person and say those words. Are you finding it easier to say God loves some people more than others? Is it easier to say about the priest in the car next to you than about the heavily tattooed young man with a cigarette dangling out the window? Easier to say about the businesswoman in the suit on the sidewalk than about the homeless person begging her for change? Easier to say of the Boy Scout helping the older lady across the street than of the person running the red light? Easier still to say of the driver with the Dolphins bumper sticker than of the person manning the car with a Patriots license plate (football is back! lol)?

If you do find yourself placing different values on the people you see, or feel that surely God must value you more than some of these people, take another moment to consider how that bias affects how you live your life. Does it manifest itself subconsciously and insidiously in your words and actions? Does it hold you back from loving others fully? Make a mental note and the next time you encounter a person like that, or even if they’re brought up in conversation, try to treat them like God loves them as much as the most revered person you can imagine … because He does!

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