Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

I have reverted to the Old English for the purpose of focus. This is not a command to a church community or to a nation but to an individual. "Thou, (you personally) shalt love thy neighbour." And my, not our, neighbour is the man who lives next door, the man within reach. This is beginning to get a little close and personal!

It has been calculated that there are 643 separate laws that were given to the people of Israel. Jesus condensed the list into 2 principles which, if carried through, fulfil the whole law. This is the second of the two; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. At first glance it seems as if the bar has been lowered and the whole obligation made much more general; until you think it through. There is an obscure verse in the Proverbs which declares that "the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth." (Prov 17:24) It's much easier to maintain benevolent thoughts of our neighbours in the 'global village', in the ends of the earth, but how am I getting on with the man next door?

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might." (Eccles 9:10) That's another verse that brings things that are within reach into our focus. Oh, if I had the opportunity I would preach fearlessly to thousands. Really, what about the one within reach, the one that your hand can reach out and find, the man within reach, the neighbour, the man next door?

And what about that last part? I am to love my neighbour, as myself? As myself? Really? When he plays his music too loud? When parks his car in my space? When his dog... Some hope!

Yes, it is...
Rom. 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Have a blessed New Year.

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