Who is my neighbor?

Published 10:32 am Monday, February 22, 2016

By Nancy Fuller

I have wondered how many times the word “love” is used in the Bible, so I asked Google. The answer was: The number of times that love is mentioned in the Bible depends on the version of the Bible. In the King James Version, love is mentioned 310 times, 131 times in the Old Testament and 179 times in the New Testament. In the New American Standard Version, love is mentioned 348 times — 133 times in the Old Testament and 215 times in the New Testament. In the New International Version, it is mentioned 551 times — 319 times in the Old Testament and 232 times in the New Testament. There are 538 instances of the word “love” in the New Revised Standard Version, 317 in the Old Testament and 221 in the New Testament. In other words, it is used an awful lot.

Years ago, PBS featured a program where the host would enter the studio, take off his cardigan sweater, and his dress shoes and put on some sneakers – all the while singing his signature song: ‘It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor, will you be mine?” Won’t you be my neighbor?”

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I love the Scripture verse where Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is and He replies; “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” But he doesn’t stop there. He continues on with the next part saying “and Thou shalt love your neighbor as yourself”. Just who is my neighbor?

I like to think of it this way, my neighbor is the lady whose husband just walked out after being married for over 25 years; my neighbor is the single mom who has three children and barely enough means to feed them; my neighbor is the homeless man who is sleeping on a park bench; my neighbor is the one who just won the lottery (he becomes everyone’s neighbor real quick); my neighbor is the little old man who can barely get out anymore because of his eyesight; my neighbor is the woman who gets beat up by her boyfriend every night; my neighbor is you! Our neighborhood is changing and we have to embrace that change. We, you and I, are asked on a daily basis to “do something, anything”. Many of us are scared or afraid of what may happen if we do get involved. Many of us don’t want to take the time that is necessary. But Jesus Christ himself is asking YOU to love your neighbor as yourself. That is a pretty tall order considering some of us love ourselves a whole lot.

I also love the Scripture of Matthew 25 where Jesus says, “Whatsoever you do to the least of these my brethren, you do unto me.” This is the Scripture that The Salvation Army stands firm on. “When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me a drink. When I was naked, you clothed me. When I was in prison, you came to visit me.” These are our neighbors, yours and mine!

This world is full of neighbors that need the Love of God that he has put in your heart. Just feeling bad about it won’t help. Just wishing someone would do something about it won’t help either. John wrote, “Dearly beloved, let us not love in word and tongue, but in deed and in truth.” Loving God is proved by loving others, including our neighbors!

During this month of “love”, do something out of the ordinary for your neighbor. You will be surprised how good it will make you feel.

Major Nancy Fuller along with her husband, Major John Fuller, are the directors of the Port Arthur branch of the Salvation Army, 3145 25th St. For information on how to donate clothing, furniture or other items, call 983-2229.