How to Tell if You Love Your Neighbor Correctly

On a Christian podcast the other day, I heard what might be the simplest test ever to determine whether you love your neighbor the way you should.

If you’re a Christian, you’re supposed to love your neighbor. Some Christians insist on morphing that into “hating the sin but loving the sinner,” which they don’t always execute very well. But then that’s understandable whenever “hate” is part of the picture.

Others decide that there’s only so far they can go with the love thing, then they prefer “ghosting” — completely abandoning a person they don’t feel lives up to their own moral code.

Others may act as though they love the neighbor when the neighbor happens to be in close proximity, then either gossips about that neighbor or forgets she even exists when she’s not within their line of sight.

Are any of these true examples of how to love your neighbor?

I was listening to a relatively new podcast, Heretic Happy Hour, the other day. The overall topic of the episode was something else, but during a portion of it, they talked about the Biblical concept of loving thy neighbor.

The simplest test you’ve ever heard.

One of the hosts talked about how to tell if you’re doing love correctly. Not romantic love, of course, but brotherly or sisterly love within the confines of Christian fellowship.

It’s simple, but it does have a bit of a catch involved.

The host said, essentially, this: “If they don’t feel loved, you’re not doing it right.”

It does require, unfortunately, a quality that some Christians seem to have lost these days: empathy. You have to be able to put yourself in the place of the person on the receiving end of the “love” that’s on display.

If you aren’t able — or aren’t willing — to do that, then the test would never work for you.

But if you can mentally reverse the situation and imagine how you’d feel if you were stuck in a spiritual hole and received what you are dishing out to the person you see who’s really in that hole, you might just be able to make use of the test.

I think if more Christians would use that simple test, those around them might feel more of what Christ expects Christians to exude.

Wouldn’t that make the world a much better place?


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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.