Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

By Cindy Korf of North Platte, Nebraska, USA

Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:29–31, adapted

My husband’s company had a “Secret Giver” gift exchange for its Christmas party. After drawing the name of a person, we were to buy a $15 gift and then give it anonymously.

I was with my husband, shopping for the gift, when we saw an item that seemed perfect. And the item was on sale! We would be giving a $25 item and paying only $10! In my logic, I thought, this was generous (above the required $15). My husband thought differently.

I said, “It’s normally $25.”

“But, we paid only $10,” he responded. “We need to find something more.”

“What about tax, and the time we spent looking for it?”

“Then, it’s a blessing for both of us. We’re able to give more.”

“Why?”

“Just think of the surprise and joy she’ll have. She’ll feel special. Wouldn’t you like that to happen to you? Wouldn’t you feel loved?”

That day, I learned from my husband about generosity—about giving to our true capacity to make someone else feel special, even with the knowledge that you’d never be recognized for the generosity.

Prayer for Peace:

Generous God, teach us about loving our neighbor. May we have generous hearts and think of more ways we can give and love. Teach us about sharing the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Forgiveness

Sit in silence for a few minutes, releasing all thoughts. At the end of the silence, say a silent prayer of gratitude. Now, think of something you have not forgiven, perhaps an action by a family member or a member of your congregation.

As you hold that thought, breathe in deeply. With each breath, whisper “God, open my heart.” Do this “breath prayer” seven times, remembering that Jesus asks us to forgive “seventy times seven.” Throughout the day take time to practice the exercise, always asking, “God, open my heart.”

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will use my strength to show love to a neighbor in need.

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