Love Your Neighbor

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:35-40.

These things I command you, that you love one another. – John 15:17.

A few days ago in Lehigh Acres, Florida at a Murphy USA gas station, things got a little out of hand. One man was trying to save a parking space for his wife when he encountered a bully who wanted the parking spot for himself. The parking spot saver held up his hands but the bully who wanted his parking spot pulled forward and hit the parking spot saver in the knees. The man trying to save the spot yelled at the bully to stop but he pulled forward and hit him again. The injuries were not severe but did cause swelling and bruises. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and the bully was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge.

As you can see sometimes it is difficult to love your neighbor, as in loving the bully. There are a lot of bullies on the road these days and you never know when you may encounter one. How would Jesus have handled the situation? This is a multiple choice test:

(A. Zapped the bully and his vehicle down to Antarctica to let him cool off for a few minutes.

(B. Let the bully run into a brick wall instead of your legs.

(C. Move out of the way and let the bully have the parking spot.

(D. None of the above.

In this situation, the bully is your neighbor, and if you love your neighbor as yourself, how would you handle the situation? Even though it would be difficult to do for some of us, the loving thing to do would be to move out of the way and let the bully have the parking space. The failure to do so caused problems for all involved in the altercation in Florida.

The problems caused for the bully are obvious as he was arrested and will have an additional charge added to his rap sheet. He will have to pay a fine and possibly spend a few days in jail, or do some community service. However, the unloving response of the victim created problems for him too. The immediate problem was the painful injury to his knees and legs from the bully’s vehicle striking him. Additionally, it caused the waste of his time and the time of witnesses who were required to stay at the scene until the Deputy Sheriff could arrive. It caused the Deputy Sheriff to use his time to investigate the incident and write and file the necessary paperwork. There will be additional time required for all involved in the future when a court hearing is held.

No one likes it when a bully pushes you around but treating the bully as you would yourself is God’s command. The apostle Paul gives advice for these situations when he writes, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘ Therefore If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head (Romans 12:18-20).’” How would Jesus have handled the situation? He might have stepped out of the way and then introduced Himself to the bully and offered to buy him something to drink and to eat. Then Jesus would have had an opportunity to have a little chat with the bully.

Remember it is not a suggestion when Jesus says, “I command you, that you love one another.” That includes the bullies in your life too. So, save yourself some problems and love your neighbor.

(Loving your neighbor as yourself will save you many problems.)

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