Soccer and the Gospel
Love Thy Neighbor
By Logan Wolf
We have lived in the Cherry Hill neighborhood for nearly four years, and until recently I didn’t know any of my neighbors. With church activities, community events, and volunteer commitments I was around people all day. When I got home, I wanted to shut out the world. But that changed while studying Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:39: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
I always equated the term neighbor with everyone. That is, we are to love everyone. Like a vague New Year’s resolution abandoned by February, however, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the general nature of this command. Though we say we love everyone, we end up not loving anyone very well.
What if we move from general to specific and take this commandment literally? What if we truly determine to love the men and women outside our front door? As I wrestled with the implications of this command on my routine and space, we were in the process of planning a party. We had invited families from church, coworkers, and friends that lived across town, but no one from our street. I knew I needed to invite my neighbors, and I knew that meant meeting them for the first time.
It was humbling to explain I had lived next door for years, and even more humiliating to admit I was a pastor when they asked what I did for a living. But the immediate awkwardness was short lived, and we spent the evening getting to know one another around a fire pit in our backyard.
Since that day, I’ve been out to eat with our neighbors. We’ve been in their homes, and they’ve been in ours. A few have even visited church unannounced. While it’s exciting that those few sat under the preaching of the gospel, it is also exciting to grow in my own faith as I follow the Word of God.
We must be willing to build relationships apart from our own agenda. The command to love our neighbor has no stipulations attached. Jesus didn’t say we are to love our neighbors so they might be converted or that we should love them until it’s clear they aren’t interested in the faith.
No, we are commanded to love them because God is love. It’s who He is, and this is who He has created us to be.
About the Writer: Logan Wolf is the lead pastor of CrossPoint Church, a multisite ministry with campuses in Taylorsville and Provo, Utah, cities that are 60% and 98% professed Mormon respectively. Learn more: www.FWBNAM.com