Principles for “loving the neighbor”

The second part of basic discipleship I will be dealing with at my church today is loving the neighbor. I am preaching a series through Luke 10-11 on four basic principles of discipleship. This week is about the parable of the Good Samaritan.

There are three basic principles (and I think they are adapted in some way from something I heard Tim Keller say awhile back) help guide my life as to what it means to “love.”

1. Loving you means I bring you no harm. I am not out to “get” you, trick you, manipulate you. I don’t want anything but God’s best in your life and that means I don’t bring you harm, no matter how deep the disagreement may seem in the beginning.

2. Loving you means as much as in my power I don’t allow other to bring you harm. If I need to stand to physically protect you in some way, I will. If I need to stand up to make sure someone doesn’t bring verbal harm, I will. If I can keep others from bringing harm, I will be there.

3. Loving you means I desire to bring God’s best into your life. My life in Christ is so radically different than before, and I follow such a powerful King who is abundant, I want to bring the abundance of the Kingdom with me. I will speak the truth in love, only desiring what is Kingdom best for you. It is not up to me to manipulate you or fear your rejection. In fact, you can reject the offerings of blessing I may bring. But it doesn’t change my sincere love for you. I will still be there. You’re not a project to me. You’re a person. I’ll keep on living as well out of Kingdom goodness as I can, and it will be up to you to tell me to take a hike. Until then, I’m there.

We are called to a radical love in this world. Our King has given us abundant power to live in this freedom. It is without fear. It is without manipulation. This is one of the lessons of loving the neighbor out of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

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