As followers of Christ there are two great commandments that we should live by. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” These are the words of Jesus quoted from the Gospel of Matthew.
I believe that we, as Christians, do a great job on the first one most of the time. Where we often fall short is with our love for our neighbors. Let’s face it, sometimes we struggle to get along with the people we worship God with, let alone people with differing views. It’s part of this fallen nature that we are accustomed to.
But God has called us to a different nature. A nature ruled by the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that being a Christian is being in love — Christ died for us out of his love for us (Romans 5:8) and that we should lay down our lives for others as a small token of what Christ did for us. Being in communion with God requires that one is in communion with their neighbor ... Jesus said we are to love our neighbor. So love for others should be a major motivation in our Christian life.
It is the love that we have as a result of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. If we love people, we will serve them out of gladness and will teach them God’s word. We will encourage them to be all that God has for them, even when they don’t like what we say or teach. It is out of love that we do this and when people see that love they will eventually believe it and want a part of it.
About 20 years ago someone showed me love when I did not deserve it. He had the love of Jesus and I could see it and it created a thirst in me that ultimately led me to the foot of the cross. So go out and love someone today. You never know where it might lead them.
Lt. Mark Cyr is pastor of The Salvation Army in Carson City.