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Galatians 5:13-14
Wednesday, December 05 2012

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself...

Our freedom is a gift; we should not take it for granted:

For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." –Galatians 5:13-14, NAB

Do you love your neighbor as yourself?  Really?  Do you love them enough to put their needs before your own?  Some of us have a hard time doing that for the ones we love the most, let alone anyone else.  St. Paul is challenging us to a very radical way of life.  Are you up to the challenge?

Before you can figure out how to love your neighbor as yourself, you have to learn why.  If for no other reason, we must do it because God commands us.  St. Paul tells us in today's verse, Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:39, and both of them are referring to an old Scripture in Leviticus 19:18.  Obviously, this is a concept that God wanted us to understand.

Beyond simply following one of God's commandments, we should love our neighbors because we choose to love them.  With faith in our lives, God pours out more love and grace than we can possibly absorb.  Instead of letting that extra love and grace go to waste, we should share it with our family, friends, and neighbors.

Knowing why you should love your neighbor as yourself is simple enough.  Putting how to love them into action is the challenge.  Through our free will, we are given the ultimate freedom: living our lives the way we choose to live them. The choice is ours, then - serve our own best interests in the name of the flesh, or serve others through love. On paper, the choice seems easy. In real life, it can be a little more difficult.

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to this.  It simply comes down to choices.  Loving your neighbor as yourself is not a single choice - it is a series of choices, each and every day.  We must constantly put the needs of others before our own.  Will you choose to love your neighbor as yourself?


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