HONOR YOUR NEIGHBOR
The 1985 Chicago Bears will always be regarded as one of the greatest football teams in NFL history. With a loud and boisterous head coach, a brash quarterback and one player nicknamed “Refrigerator,” this memorable team attracted fans and interest from all over the world. By winning the Super Bowl, the players’ status as legends is secure. Every few years the old team will come back to Chicago to take another bow and give a wave to the fans. Although the members of the 1985 team are now in their 50s and 60s, the fans still love to see them and reminisce about days gone by. Fans feel they are honoring the players’ legacy by expressing gratitude for their past accomplishments.
Did you know we are called to honor one another? As we learn to build relationships and pray for our neighbors, we will begin to see how many struggles and joys we have in common. In a world where we can seem terribly divided, this week’s Scripture beckons us to return to love and unity.
Honor others by seeking their best. (9–13)
Love may be the most misused and overused word in the English language. It is limited in fully expressing our thoughts toward someone or something. I love banana pudding. I also love my wife. Do I love them both the same and equally? Of course not. The beauty of these verses is Paul shares with readers how to love our neighbors as ourselves. Remember, love is not an emotion; it is a deliberate choice.
The sincerity of the love Paul is talking about transcends our flesh. When you are being guided by Christ, you will no longer see others as competition. You will want to see them succeed and rejoice with them. Verse 13 shows us love is active. Our love for others will be expressed through sharing what we have without a thought of receiving something in return.
Honor others over honoring yourself. (14–16)
If you practice love in this countercultural way, you can expect heartache. Some may seem bent on persecuting you or bringing you harm. This is where love is a challenge. Again, if we are constantly recalling the fact love is not an emotion, we can be better equipped to dispense love to those who need it most. I am learning in my journey some of the angriest people in the world are also some of the saddest. They are not unimportant; they are unloved. Genuine love requires humility and selflessness. Love requires us to shed our hate and prejudices for concern and harmony. Loving others is challenging work, but we should contemplate the measure of Christ’s love toward us all.
Honor others through peaceful relationships. (17–21)
How someone treats you is a revealing indication of how they feel about you. That may seem blunt, but it speaks to the genuineness of a person’s heart and intentions. These verses remind us we are neither called nor qualified to enact revenge on others, no matter the hurt they may have inflicted upon us. We are told do the opposite of our natural instincts. Feed your enemies, make sure they are cared for and serve them. By doing this, we overcome evil with good. The Chicago Bears won a Super Bowl more than 35 years ago, but when we choose peace, we are super believers.
By Bobby McKay
Pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Brookhaven, Mississippi