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To Love the Neighbor you Know

1 John 3

I am still sitting in the Orlando airport when I should be landing in Detroit.  All of Delta’s computer systems worldwide have shut down, so hundreds or maybe even a thousand people sit in the terminal with plenty of places to go and no way to get there!  What has been incredible to watch and experience is the neighborliness going around!  People help reserve seats for those who need to get up, share iPhone chargers with those who are running out of charge from calling everyone about their situation, grabbing a water and snacks for those sitting around.  People of all faiths and no faith of all political persuasions and none at all treat each other with respect and understanding.  What is it about a shared experience beyond our control that brings out the message of 1 John 3 – Love each other?

In this “emergency” situation loving your neighbor who is crammed in the terminal with you is remarkable to watch and yet is strangely easier than loving the neighbor you know and see on a regular basis.  While I think that John did have these out of the ordinary situations in mind when he encouraged his readers to love each other I really think, since he was writing to believers, he also meant the neighbors you know really well and see on a regular bases too.  Sometimes these every day neighbors are harder to love because we know too much about them – especially the irritating, rub you wrong, things they do or beliefs they hold (or the lack of doing anything or believing).  As a reminder, our family are also our neighbors and part of each other!

As I sit here for over 5 hours and counting I wonder if I practiced treating the neighbor I know like the ones I don’t if I might love better and with more respect.  For God loved us before we knew him and so we too should love in that same way.

Take some time read through 1 John 3 and look at those neighbors you know and ask God to help you love them with fresh eyes – don’t wait for an emergency to happen to love your neighbor well.  Talk with your children about who is easy to love and who is hard to love.  Talk about ways to see them in a new light and take John’s admonitions to heart to love each other.

Here’s to loving the ones we know and don’t know,


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