It is estimated that Americans will spend $10.1 billion on Halloween this year, including $3.3 billion on costumes and $3 billion on candy. Such a popular event can be a great opportunity to reach out to those around us with Christian truth and love (Ephesians 4:15).
This week, Andy Crouch launches the third module of the Truth. Love. Together. virtual event, with a session on “The Kind of People the World Needs.” I cannot imagine anything more timely and relevant!
Yesterday, we focused on the second Great Commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). Today, we’ll begin discussing the first Great Commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (v. 30).
In an interview with Karen Pence, a reporter suggested that “a gay person might say that your faith is attacking them for who they are.” Mrs. Pence replied: “I don’t make that connection. This country was founded on religious liberty. And I think we have to be careful about infringing on anyone else’s beliefs. I think that if you have someone who has a certain belief, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily judging you.”
“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.