You know the neighbor who won't mow their yard - or the one who lets their dog poop in yours? It's OK to love them. (Even if the other neighbors gripe.)

You know the people who smoke, drink and curse just a little too much? Yep, it's OK to love them too.

How about the guys who want cake, or the girls who prefer cupcakes? The people who vote differently or post videos and articles that make us want to scream?

We're called to serve them well too.

To those with skin darker than ours, or lighter skin than ours, or more wrinkly or even smoother and shinier skin compared to ours? It's our duty to invite them in.

And especially to those who we see every day, those who won't leave the house or say just what we need to hear? We've been called to persevere.

It's easy to get love a little twisted, and it's on our fallen nature to complicate things. In the name of borders and boundaries, safety and self-righteousness, we board up our homes, close our businesses and wall off our hearts to keep others out. Yet if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, we will live our lives through a different lens. We will follow a different way.

Jesus accepted the invitation to eat with "sinners." He washed the dirty feet of those who would later stab him in the back and deny they hung out. He healed people for no pay. He offered compassion, love and help even when He felt exhausted. He served people even if He didn't agree with them, and He loved even when they were a threat to his ministry and safety. 

How? And why?

He saw every person He encountered as human and deserving of love. He let mercy triumph over any and all judgement. 

Prayer: God, I want to have a heart like yours. Help me show love and acceptance for those who aren't like me. I want to put your love on display through genuine care and compassion. In Jesus' name. Amen.

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you.

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