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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Trustworthy are the bruises of a friend; excessive are the kisses of an enemy.

Proverbs 27:6

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Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t have emoticons. We can’t hear tone, see facial expressions, or feel the mood of situations and conversations. Each of us comes to scripture with an interpretive lens — we bring our personalities, experiences, and theology to the text and read into it what we believe. Sometimes we assume a tone is inferred in scripture that just isn’t there, and we’re left confused.

In the same way, someone that comes to you in love with correction is easier to hear than someone with whom you don’t have a relationship. You know their tone, you have a past of friendship to draw from. We need friends in our lives that have been given the space to stretch us, to push back on our thoughts and our attitudes. A true friend makes us better because they want the best inside of us to make its way out.

Jeremy Sims

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Jesus, you are a friend that sticks closer than a brother. I know that when you correct me, you aren’t going anywhere. You simply want the best in me to make its way out. Help me to hear your gentle voice of correction and to respond. 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.

Making Space: What A Friend

Carter Harrell

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