Commonsense Christianity

In Part 1 of this miniseries, we looked at the Great Commandment,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30).

Midday Tea inspirational original oil painting of woman in victorian Boldman house dining room by Steve Henderson

When our neighbor knocks at the kitchen door, we have an opportunity to invite them in for tea and companionship. Midday Tea, original oil painting by Steve Henderson

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Part 2 of our miniseries of tangible things we can do to live our faith involves the second Great Commandment:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

So, how do we do this practically?

1) Jesus Himself gives us the best example of how to fulfill this commandment in the tale of the good Samaritan, which you can find in Luke 10:30-37. Read this account, reread it, and think and meditate upon it through the day. Let it absorb into your spiritual muscle fiber.

2) Think about how you forgive yourself, and translate that into the love you feel for others. Most of us, when we recognize that we’ve done something wrong, are relatively forgiving of our foibles: “I was tired,” or “I shouldn’t have said that, but she provoked me!” If we love others as we love ourselves, we can grant them that same sense of leniency. It’s a given that we don’t spend days, hours, weeks, and years brooding darkly about our sins and feeding a sense of bitterness against ourselves.

3) Little, thoughtful acts make us happy — they do the same for others as well. Making an impact on lives doesn’t have to involve filling football stadiums with acolytes who are there to hear us speak, watch our face on the oversized video screen, and buy our products. Remember how it made you feel when the person in the grocery line looked at your one can of diced tomatoes and said, “Go ahead of me — I’m in no hurry”? You can give that same good feeling to another person, treating them as you enjoyed being treated.

4) Your neighbor’s everywhere, and some of them only you can reach. There are seven billion people on this planet, and we can’t encounter them all, but we can interact with, and bless, the unique and special individuals in our lives — our family members, co-workers, customers, literal neighbors, people we meet online via social media or forums, the person who delivers your newspaper. Think about the people in your life, and ask God how you can be a positive light in theirs.

5) Speaking of thinking, do so — and pray for the various people who come into your life. You don’t have to rush through hundreds and hundreds of names each night, but as you pray and meditate, ask God to bring someone to mind who needs your prayers (He does this, and it never ceases to be an awesome experience). You may or may not know a lot about their situation, but that doesn’t matter, because God knows it all. As you pray, if an idea comes regarding a way to bless any of these people, see about bringing it to fruition.

One small act builds upon another, and as we get into practice performing acts and thoughts of kindness, we ourselves change — into kinder, more thoughtful people. All while blessing others!

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I write about, and meditate upon, living a real, practical Christianity that makes a difference in our lives, and that of others.

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