Love is the core message of Christianity. Demonstrating the love of God to our neighbors during this COVID-19 pandemic is extremely important. How do we do this? How do you and I love our neighbors?
The Bible instructs us to love our neighbor as ourselves. What does this look like during COVID-19 with social distancing, lockdowns, essential workers, closures, and my neighbor who isn’t following the established protocols?
How do I love my neighbor as myself at this time in history?
What Love Does
In response to the command to love your neighbor as yourself, Jesus was asked Who is my neighbor? He responded with the following story known as The Good Samaritan,
To answer this question, Jesus said, “A man was going down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Some robbers surrounded him, tore off his clothes, and beat him. Then they left him lying there on the ground almost dead.
“It happened that a Jewish priest was going down that road. When he saw the man, he did not stop to help him. He walked away. Next, a Levite came near. He saw the hurt man, but he went around him. He would not stop to help him either. He just walked away.
“Then a Samaritan man traveled down that road. He came to the place where the hurt man was lying. He saw the man and felt very sorry for him. The Samaritan went to him and poured olive oil and wine on his wounds. Then he covered the man’s wounds with cloth. The Samaritan had a donkey. He put the hurt man on his donkey, and he took him to an inn. There he cared for him. The next day, the Samaritan took out two silver coins and gave them to the man who worked at the inn. He said, ‘Take care of this hurt man. If you spend more money on him, I will pay it back to you when I come again.’”
Then Jesus said, “Which one of these three men do you think was really a neighbor to the man who was hurt by the robbers?”
The teacher of the law answered, “The one who helped him.”
Jesus said, “Then you go and do the same” (Luke 10:30-37).
Instead of answering the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus turned it around to, “Who was really a neighbor?” Here is where we find our answer on how to love our neighbors during this COVID-19 crisis.
To love our neighbors as ourselves, we need to simply help them.
Help Your Neighbor with Emotional Support
The Bible says we are to “rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). Doing this is an act of love.
Rejoicing might sound odd with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, but not everyone is suffering loss. There are still many good and happy things happening that are worthy of celebration. Join in the celebration as much as you can. If all you can muster is a sincere congratulations, then do that.
Mourning might come easier right now with deaths, job losses, school closures, and more. These losses come in all sizes, so it might be easy to judge some as more worthy of support. But trauma is personal and how deeply a person is affected will vary. Every loss needs to be grieved in some way. Validate your neighbors’ losses.
When you share someone’s joy or sorrow, you support them emotionally.
Help Your Neighbor by Serving Them
Serving is doing something a person needs. This can be large or small. A large example is the countless men and women on the front lines in hospitals, and others wearing the label “essential worker.” They are risking their lives to demonstrate love by serving their neighbor. I thank God for them.
Smaller ways to serve are not insignificant.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love” (Mother Teresa).
A few ways people are serving with great love:
- Those sewing masks for the medical community
- Low-risk people shopping for high-risk people
- Stores having special hours for high-risk people
No matter how big or small you’re able to serve, the love you give is what matters most.
Help Your Neighbor with Encouragement
To encourage is to put courage back where it’s missing. Encouragement is important right now because many are discouraged or fearful.
There are many ways we can encourage others.
- I do this with my writing, videos, and audio recordings.
- A group on Facebook (Rainbows Over Michigan) is doing this with photographs promoting artwork on windows to encourage children.
- A woman in my neighborhood is painting rocks with encouraging words on them and putting them in random places to speak life and hope. She gave me permission to share her photograph.
There are many ways we can find to love our neighbors as ourselves during this difficult time of COVID-19. How are you going to do it?
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Danielle Bernock is an international, award-winning author, speaker, and coach who helps people embrace their value and heal their soul through the power of the love of God. She’s written Emerging With Wings, A Bird Named Payn (now available in audio), Love’s Manifesto and Because You Matter. A long time follower of Christ, Danielle lives with her husband in Michigan near her adult children and grandchildren. For more information or to connect with Danielle https://www.daniellebernock.com/