Love Thy Different Neighbor

February is the month for love. We celebrate those close to us and have no problem loving them. Well, most of the time. Uh, some of the time. Okay, once in a while.

But what about others? We’ve all heard Jesus’s quotes from the Bible: “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Love does no harm to a neighbor.” And a neighbor is just someone nearby. We all have those – people who live next door and folks we come in contact with during the day.

We go to church with folks like us.

It’s easy to love those who are just like us. In fact, we tend to go to schools and churches with people who think, look, and worship like we do.

But I’m a little different. I don’t look like all my friends. My tastes can be eclectic, my wardrobe is more colorful than most, and when elections roll around, I usually don’t vote the same as everybody else. Plus, I own a tiara and wear it often.

We are all different in some way, but some are more different than others. Hmm. Sound like something from “1984”?

Blind lady with dog
She “sees” better than I do!


So what kind of different people do we find around us?

One member of my writers group is blind. She’s been sightless her whole life, so for her it’s normal. In fact, when someone watches how she copes and tells her she’s amazing, she doesn’t understand. She’s just doing what she needs to survive in this world: raising a daughter, buying a house, editing books, and working on a computer that talks to her. But some folks are uncomfortable around her. When she was in a bridal party, one beautician refused to do her makeup because her eyes “looked weird.”

A Viet Nam vet suffered a stroke that confined him to a wheelchair. His speech was slurred, though not from drugs or alcohol. He had little money, so his clothing was worn and threadbare. There was still a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips, although few people took the time to look. Most folks glanced at him and walked away.

Two young ladies at church spent a great deal of time together, grew fond of each other, and later married. When they returned to the church so their children would learn of Jesus, so-called “Christians” snubbed them. If these women had the nerve to sit in a pew, others in that row got up and moved. Not to say that we agree with their lifestyle, but we must learn to accept everyone, just as Jesus did, and not shun them.

February is the month for valentines. We’ve all seen the red hearts, lace, flowers, and candy that commemorate the emotion, but those are reserved for people we already love, usually those we’re related to. When we see others on the street or at the grocery store, we tend to feel indifference instead.

What do you think the world would look like if we took the time to love – really love – and accept some of those we deem unlovable just because they’re different? Maybe, by changing our attitudes, we could change those around us. And that could grow and affect others, and they’d change others, and so on and so on.

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to live in a world like thatHeart Flowers” by m_bartosch

Church and heart images courtesy of digitalart and at

Lady with service dog image courtesy of

One comment

  1. Debbie – can I just say Amen and right on!!!! This is the passion of my life. A member of a writer’s group that I participate in recently asked us, “What has been the greatest blessing of your life.” and here is how I answered: “Besides my own relationship with Jesus, and my amazing husband, I would have to say that the greatest blessing God gave me were African American, Hispanic and Gay and Lesbian friends while in college and very close friendships with homeless veterans and persons with mental illnesses and other disabilities soon after college. God opened my eyes and my heart and my spirit to the great diversity of all His precious children in ways that have utterly and profoundly changed my life ever since and I am so deeply grateful for that. ” I believe this to the core of my being!

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