Jesus taught that the two most important commandments in all the Bible are to love God with all of the heart, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:29-31). In Luke 10:29-37 we learn that our neighbor is not just the person living next door to us, but any human being we happen to encounter as we live our lives. In other words, we all have a God given obligation to love, we are to love God and love people. God himself has shown what real love looks like. According to John 3:16, God’s love for the world was so great, that He offered up His only Son to pay the penalty for sin, so that anyone who believes can be delivered from death and have eternal life. Because of His love for us, God had compassion for us in our woeful condition. That compassion moved Him to action. He did something about our condition as sinners doomed to eternal death. What He did was costly, He gave His only begotten Son over to death. Jesus, the Son of God, took the place of sinners on the cross and took their punishment. Now that’s love.[coll_text max_font_size=”30″ min_font_size=”15″]The whole idea behind mercy is that of withholding from some penalty which they deserve. That is what God did for us.[/coll_text]
In the same way, if we are to truly love, the way God loves, then we must not turn the other way when we see our neighbor suffering. Sometimes it is easy to say things like, “it’s their own fault” or “they should have been more responsible.” While I would agree that some suffering is self inflicted and well deserved, we must be careful that our hearts be not hardened against human suffering and that we fail to be merciful. The whole idea behind mercy is that of withholding from some penalty which they deserve. That is what God did for us. As I interact with people here in the city of Detroit, I see so many opportunities to show love. I also see a community of people who are looking to be loved and ready to respond. Recently, we put on a soccer tournament for the kids here on the east side. I must admit, I was surprised by the turn out we had. The playground was full of children having fun and many parents hung around to watch. I could tell that these parents were very happy to see a positive community activity taking place in their neighborhood. While God gave His very best for us, we can do a great deal of good here in Detroit without great cost to ourselves. A simple little soccer tournament did a whole lot of good for a neighborhood of kids. As we live life, let us take notice of our neighbor’s needs. Then, let us be like God and go out and show love.