Loving a Neighbor

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31 NLT

The note clung tightly to the storm door, held there by a piece of strong tape used by the delivery person. The company had made the decision. Action would soon follow if payment wasn’t made.

At nine years of age, the young boy was doing what most boys his age did in the summer: romping and playing. Until his sister noticed his eyes had turned yellow. She ran inside, yelling at her mother that something was wrong with her brother. Mom carted him up and away to the local emergency room which, after examining him, transferred him to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. For some unknown reason, his liver had stopped working. Two days after arriving in Charleston, he had a new liver—a miracle in itself—and a new lease on life.

This family was our neighbors, but we knew nothing about their tragedy. We only knew we hadn’t seen anyone home for three weeks—until my wife happened to catch the mom who had made a brief trip home to get a few things.

Initially, the young boy did well and was soon able to come home. Then his body began rejecting the liver. They made several trips back and forth to Charleston. Each time we waited for an update.

During their last trip, my wife noticed the local power company tape a notice to our neighbor’s storm door. She knew what it was, caught the deliverer of bad news, and asked how much the bill was. The mom had not been able to work due to the circumstances, and the dad had missed numerous days himself. If $450 dollars wasn’t paid by the next day, their power would be turned off.

“Why don’t we take a love offering at church,” my wife asked. Since no one but us knew the family, I didn’t know how the people at church would respond. I decided to take a chance. We’d had the child on our prayer list. On Sunday morning, the church gave $406. When I announced the total at the evening services, someone quickly contributed the remaining balance. As soon as the power company opened Monday morning, my wife paid the balance.

Loving a neighbor is a good feeling—whether they live right beside us or not. Doing so also helps us obey what Jesus classified as the second greatest command. Only loving God with our entire being surpasses it.

Opportunities to love my neighbors—whoever and wherever they might be—abound. But like my wife, I must be attentive to the working of God’s Spirit in my innermost being if I’m to see them. If I live life selfishly, I’ll miss most, if not all, of the opportunities God sends.

Ask God to open your eyes so you can see opportunities to love your neighbor.

Martin Wiles

Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us), the Senior Editor for Inspire-a-Fire, and a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He is an author, English teacher, minister, and freelance editor. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and the author of six books, including his most recent, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes for a Noisy World. He has also been published in numerous publications. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three. He can be contacted at martinwileseditor@gmail.com.

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  1. Wonderful post and heart-warming story of loving our neighbor, Martin. This is powerful, “Loving a neighbor is a good feeling—whether they live right beside us or not. Doing so also helps us obey what Jesus classified as the second greatest command.”

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