More and more often, with everything that is happening in the world, it's hard for a Christian to remember to love and to show the loving side of Christianity. There are many scripture verses that command the Christian's separation from this and that, and that separation is from things that oppose God's Word and, in some cases, very specific situations from other people and of course, these demand certain indications, but in general, we are to love our neighbors. In this post, I will look at all the passages with this commandment and, Lord willing, the reader will be encouraged from God's Word.
I did a simple search through the Bible of where Christians are told to love their neighbor and there are at least 9 instances. These are the clearest, in my opinion.
UNDER THE OLD TESTAMENT LAW:
Leviticus 19:18 "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."
Leviticus 19:34 "But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."
Matthew 19:19 "Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Matthew 22:37-39 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Mark 12:30-31 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
Luke 10:27 "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."
UNDER THE AGE OF GRACE, AND TO MODERN DAY CHRISTIANS:
Romans 13:9b "...and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Galatians 5:14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
James 2:8 "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"
The majority of these passages are found during the dispensation of law and therefore most would conclude that because Christians are no longer under the law, but under grace, this command is obselete. Unfortunately, this is untrue because there are 3 other times in the new testament that this command is directed to Christians in the dispensation of grace.
I fear that a lot of people, christians included, taint the perception of Christianity for their lack of love towards others, myself included. In acknowledging all the Christians that are suffering persecution and wrongful imprisonments all over the world, there is a lesson in loving the person more than the sin the rest of us need to learn from their example.
The Bible commands that Christians love their neighbor. Below, I have put the original Greek and Hebrew terms and emphasized a commonality in both. Another person. According to the Bible, a neighbor is another person, regardless of their social status, skin color, choice of religion or lifestyle. All people are to be shown love by Christians.
1. a neighbour
2. a friend
3. any other person, and where two are concerned, the other (thy fellow man, thy neighbour), according to the Jews, any member of the Hebrew nation and commonwealth
4. according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet
Original: ריע רע
Transliteration: rêa‛ rêya‛
1. friend, companion, fellow, another person
2. friend, intimate
3. fellow, fellow-citizen, another person (weaker sense) other, another
How do Christians lack in this?
Well, that's easy to do. Simply by being unfriendly can be the simplest way a Christian can give the perception of unloving. Sometimes it is unintentional........but sometimes it can be intentional. For example, the Lord may bring people into our lives for the very reason to teach us how to love, properly. However, Christians can sometimes say things that seem like it is a chore to associate with a particular person. Christians may wonder to themselves or even ask their fellow Christians, why are you talking to that person?......or you don't want to talk to them, do you? I think you may see the point. It is vital for a Christian to love others, and to speak in a loving way, both to their fellow Christians and to people that they may not want to be friendly to.
The title of this post is to tolerate or not to tolerate. There are many, many evils, sins and situations in the Bible that are necessary, and needful, for the Christian to avoid and, not tolerate. Sin needs to be shunned from the life of the Christian and when Christians associate themselves with those who practice sin on a daily basis, (hint: we all do) there is very little room for intolerance for the person, not the sin. Throughout history, people have tried to practice intolerance, to no avail. People like Adolf Hitler (though there was A LOT MORE on his agenda) was very intolerant of people and yet, Christians still seem to tolerate people that are persecuting and wrongfully imprison them, simply for being a christian. It is very possible to love a person so much aside from their political views, lifestyle, what they favor or don't favor, etc., and still love them, as a person created in the image of God.
John 15:12 "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
One of the many ways that we as children of God, can show love to each other is by first sharing the truth of God's love and that God loves everybody so much, that He gave his only son to die for the sins of the world. Whoever will believe that, will have an eternal relationship with the One who loved and created them. (John 3:16) Another way, is to look past all the sin in someone's life and to love them, the person, created in God's image.
1 John 4:7-11 "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."