“Love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus said (Mark 12:31).
Who among us wouldn’t agree with that statement?
When I’m sitting in a pew on Sunday and my pastor teaches that concept, I nod my head in agreement. When I’m having quiet time and I happen upon that verse, I feel confident and slightly proud. Of course I love my neighbor. God told me to.
It’s easy, right? Well, yes—until it’s not.
Because reality is rarely as simple as the theoretical. I love the idea of loving my neighbor, truly. I profess love and try to live in such a way as to practice it. I want to offer to others what God gave so freely to me.
But when I look, literally around my neighborhood, what do I see? Houses I pass every day filled with people I’ve never seen. People to nod at as we drive past, but whose names I do not know. Houses that are suddenly empty, and I can only assume someone passed away because my impression is that an elderly man once lived there, but I’m not even sure.
What kind of neighbor does this make me? I’m not wanting to beat myself—or you—up, but the truth is, we all make mistakes when trying to love our neighbor. Even if we mean well, even if we’re intentional about reaching out, there are likely things each of us could do better. Let’s look at 10 of the mistakes every Christian makes when trying to love their neighbor.
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If you’re like me, some days reading the Bible feels like running five miles on a treadmill after two hours’ sleep with 10 urgent things on your mind. It feels like a drag you don’t really have time for. It’s one more box to check off your list of “Things Good Christians Do.” Maybe you speed read while checking your phone. Five minutes after you snap that Bible shut, you don’t remember a thing anyway. So what’s the point?
Or perhaps you feel guilty because you never get around to it, and who needs that?
Bible reading can be an empowering, life-transforming habit, but maybe we make it too difficult. We think we have to carve out a half hour each day for serious Bible study. We think we have to plow through the entire Bible in one year for it to really count. Then we get discouraged when we can’t follow through. All or nothing thinking can leave us feeling defeated before we even start.
In reality, reading the Bible doesn’t have to be hard. God loves any small effort we make to draw near to Him through reading His Word.
Here are nine simple ways to make Bible reading easier.