If we’ve truly listened and learned about our neighbor, only then can we authentically love them. The love that God calls us to isn’t a superficial, metaphorical, theoretical love… its deep… it’s intimate…
It’s like the love for a sister, a cousin, it’s a love filled with sacrifice and joy, grief and excitement; like the love God shows for us. As we love, let the linking begin!
To be clear, as we join in relationship and love for our neighbors, linking happens; and it’s not a one-way transaction. I am linked to my neighbor’s family, to her friends, to his coworkers, as he’s linked to mine. I’m linked to her understanding of, and worship of God, as she are to mine. We are linked by relationship… a holy, divine relationship borne out of God-like compassion and grace.
We learn about our neighbor’s passions. We learn about her strengths, his fears, her contexts, his family experience. By learning about what our neighbor does, what she thinks, how he expresses, what brings him up and her down, we learn who she is. The more we learn about our neighbor, the greater is our love.
Listen, Learn, Love, Link… It’s what the body of Christ is all about.
Changing the world, one neighborhood at a time.
Listening is the first step. And listening to our neighbors is fundamental to our existence as children of God. Listening intently, compassionately, critically, holistically, and sincerely is the beginning of any real knowledge of, and love for, my neighbor. It’s through listening that we learn.