Acts 1:8 Ministry Talks Overcoming Obstacles to Loving Your Neighbor
One of the greatest laws of the Christian religion is "love your neighbor as yourself." This is a radical statement that requires a fundamental change in perspective. Instead of focusing mainly on yourself and your own needs, you are instructed to focus equally on other human beings. This Gospel law requires openness to others and self-sacrifice.
The law becomes especially challenging when we start thinking about our particular neighbors and their specific situations. What if your neighbor is someone you don't understand or don't like? What if you are distracted by your problems and can't focus on anyone else?
Acts 1:8 Ministry, a Christian non-profit organization, strives to embody the spirit of loving thy neighbor in their day-to-day mission and volunteer efforts focused on caring, sharing and connecting people to Christ through Christian kindness.
Below, Acts 1:8 Ministry highlights four scenarios involving obstacles to obeying the instruction to love your neighbor, along with proposed responses.
1. What should you do if your neighbor does not accept the help you offer? Perhaps you have a friend who is experiencing financial difficulty. If you are fully employed and financially comfortable, you can provide the friend with a loan. However, the individual refuses your generous offer. In this scenario, the best approach is to assure your friend that the loan will continue to be available. In making the offer, you have acted according to the Gospel law. In refusing the offer, your friend is erecting an obstacle that only they can remove.
2. What should you do if you are ill and feel too weak to help someone else? In this scenario, your sickness prevents you from doing what you would otherwise do. This is a problematic situation to untangle. While there are no exceptions expressed in the "love your neighbor" law, it's clear that your illness affects both your intellectual resources (your ability to analyze your neighbor's needs) and your physical resources (your ability to help). It is, therefore, appropriate to wait until you are well again, and then to focus on your neighbor.
3. What should you do if your neighbor has been unkind to you in the past? While it is understandable that you would not be enthusiastic about helping such a person, the "love your neighbor" law is clear and unambiguous. You are called to put aside your reluctance and to focus on the needs of the other person. And you should do so without showing resentment.
4. What should you do about a neighbor who often helps you but is evasive when you try to get to know them. In this scenario, the other person is refusing to reveal his or her needs. The best response is to continue to inquire about the other person. It is impossible to help your neighbor if you don't know what his or her needs are. Nevertheless, you should never lose interest in getting to know this individual better.
The "love your neighbor as yourself" law is a simple statement but a daunting challenge. Nevertheless, all Christians are called to take up this challenge every day, despite the various obstacles. Focusing on the needs of others creates a more loving society.
About Acts 1:8 Ministry:
Acts 1:8 Ministry has been empowering Christians around the world for nearly two decades by training them to evangelize in their communities. Since its inception, the organization has worked with over 3,200 churches, groups and individuals in all 50 states in the USA and more than 100 countries around the globe.