“Everybody needs someone beside em’ shining like a lighthouse from the sea.”

from “Brother” by NEEDTOBREATHE


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You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Galatians 5:13-14

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Loving your neighbor as yourself sounds like such a great idea. But what if your neighbor is a jerk?! This commandment challenges us in one of the hugest ways: to be the bigger person.

Sometimes we want to fight fire with fire. If someone is acting mean, then we decide that they don’t deserve our kindness and love. Of course, that’s not the kind of community to which we are called by Jesus.

Notice that Jesus doesn’t suggest but rather commands us to love our neighbors. He doesn’t say that we should tolerate our neighbors or be sort of nice to them, but love them. This means that we go out of our way to show our neighbors what Christ’s love looks like. We go out of our way to be in community with them. We go out of our way to bring joy into their lives. Whether we think they deserve it or not, they are children of God just like us, and they need love.

Ashley Lytle Carr

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Loving God, you have showered me with love at every turn. Open my heart to the knowledge and love of God which passes all my understanding. Keep my soul fixed on your example of unconditional love in all that I do and in all whom I meet. In the name of your Son who loved the world beyond reason, amen.

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Remember that in Matthew 18:20, Jesus tells us: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” God is present in the midst of our squads, no matter what they look like.

Go now into your day, and as you go:

Be in relationship.

Seek out God’s children.

Meet them with love.

Practice kindness.

Live together in peace.

Know that God is there.

Ashley Lytle Carr

Ashley Lytle Carr is an Episcopal priest in Atlanta, GA. She is currently serving as the Associate Rector at St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church where she works to remind people of God’s immeasurable joy. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking and all things outdoors with her spouse and two dogs.

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