Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)

You are called to love your neighbor. Jesus said it was equal to the greatest commandment.

Who is your neighbor? What is your responsibility to your neighbor?

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But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

When Jesus heard it, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. Go and learn what this means: I want mercy and not sacrifice. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners.”

Matthew 9:11-13

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Jesus’ life — everything that Jesus does, everything that Jesus says, every relationship that Jesus has — gives us a glimpse into the character and nature of God. During Jesus’s time, there was a common sentiment that those with problems were cursed by God and those who had it together were favored by God. This quickly ostracized the poor, sick, “sinners,” women, and underdogs. But notice who Jesus spends all of his time with. It’s exactly this group.

We learn in the life of Jesus what’s important to God. Each time that Jesus accepts an underdog, heals a sick person, eats dinner with a tax collector, and teaches a lesson about a woman who “gave all that she had,” we see the value that God places on all of human existence. Everyone is welcome at the table. All are neighbors of God.

Jeremy Sims

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Jesus, teach me to value my neighbor the way that you do. I am conditioned to build a hierarchy of importance in my relationships. Show me how to see the value in others, who are all your image bearers. Amen.

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Go and love.

Go and value the other image bearers of God around you.

Believe the best in your neighbor.

Jeremy Sims

Jeremy Sims is a husband, father, teacher, pastor, musician, San Francisco Giants nut, and shrimp and grits aficionado. He and his wife Tiffanni have been married for over 17 years and have three beautiful children named Addyson, Carsyn, and Brayden. They have a Golden Retriever named Fortinbras, named after a Golden Retriever from their favorite family book A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

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