Why do we love our neighbors?

By Daniel Arter

“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.” – Mark 12:30-31

When the Jewish religious leaders came to Jesus in the hopes of finding fault in his answers to their questions, they asked a question that affects every person that claims to be a follower of Christ. They simply ask Him, “Which is the first [most important] commandment?” (Mark 12:8) and Jesus responds by reciting what the Israelites called the Shema, “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 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” (Mark 12:29-30; Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Before they can ask another question, He continues and says, “the second [commandment] is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Mark 12:31)

Mark 12 makes it clear that all of the commandments of God can be summed up in four words: love God; love others. We love God by giving Him glory through corporate worship, walking in the Spirit, choosing to follow Him regardless of what the majority does. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 tells us to love God with everything that we have and it is through the process of learning to love God with everything that we have that we grow in our Christ-likeness. It is in this process of learning to love God that we begin to understand why and how we ought to love others.

Loving others can be summed up in Luke 10:25-37. In this passage, Jesus tells a lawyer a parable about the good Samaritan, a story of a man that is robbed on his way to Jericho. This man is left for dead and Jesus explains that multiple people walked by without helping the man, but when a Samaritan man saw him he had compassion on him, cleaned him up, bandaged his wounds, and took him to an inn to recover. When Jesus asks the lawyer who the lawyer thinks was the man’s neighbor, the lawyer responds, “the one who showed him mercy”. Thus, it seems clear, that every person is our neighbor and to love our neighbors we ought to show them mercy and compassion. When they’re in need, we help them in their need. When they’re dirty, hurt, jostled by life, or living in sin, we are there for them. We help them get clean, we bandage their wounds, we listen to their life-stories, and we constantly point them to Jesus by loving them.

So, why is Griggs all about the neighborhood? Because we at Griggs love all and seek to lead all to the presence of God - especially our neighbors living in and around Poe Mill.

Daniel Arter serves as a ministry associate at Griggs, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Christian Ministries. You can learn more about him at www.danielarter.com