Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 40 : Love Your Neighbor | Day 280

Love With Rebukes!

Caught off guard by an unexpected winter storm, two hikers desperately fought their way through the blizzard. The wind-driven snow pelted their faces and obstructed their vision. The snowdrifts grew deeper and deeper. After hours of exposure to the bitter-cold temperatures, sheer exhaustion overcame one of the men, and he shouted to his friend, "I need to rest." Then he collapsed into the snow and fell asleep almost immediately.

His companion, recognizing the gravity of their situation, strained to see through the snow and realized that they were not far from shelter. He hurried over to his fallen friend and slapped him in the face. The sleeping man, now awakened, became angry and pursued his "attacker" into the nearby house. Once inside he demanded, "Why did you slap me?!" His friend replied, "I slapped you to save your life. If I would have let you have what you wanted, you would have frozen to death!"

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6).

Love does not look the other way or remain silent when a neighbor is making a wrong decision. In fact, God states that if we fail to warn the wicked about the error of his way, “... the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand" (Ezekiel 3:18).

Whenever we reprove others, our motives must be genuine love and a sincere concern for his welfare. We must also demonstrate meekness and humility in the way in which we confront sin in another person's life, remembering our own frailty. (See Titus 3:2-3 and Galatians 6:1.) If we are condescending or judgmental in our attitudes toward another person, he will surely sense it and reject our warnings.

When Jesus was on the earth, the religious leaders of His day condemned Him for associating with publicans and sinners. Yet, Christ demonstrated the perspective each of us needs to develop in that He loved the sinner while at the same time He hated the sin. He saw that they were lost and extended His love to them right where they were. (See Matthew 9:10-13 and Luke 15.)

One day, I watched someone step out of a car and wondered who she was. But then he turned around and came into my office! He sat down and said, "You probably don't like the way I look!" I looked him in the eye and said with a smile, "I love you just as you are, but I love you too much to let you stay that way. I want to see you become the man God intends for you to be." This answer brought a positive response, because he realized that I did not judge him but sincerely wanted the best for him.

An important aspect of love is to "reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Timothy 4:2).

In this week's journal entry, let's start by listing our immediate neighbors and begin praying for them. Then, let's make plans to invite them over for a meal and show genuine interest in them. By doing so, we will have a growing testimony of God's working through our lives to benefit the lives of others, and we will be able to rejoice in the results that come by obeying the command to love others as Christ has loved us.

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard