Learning to Love my Neighbor as Myself

Today we are sharing a super encouraging story and call to action from our friend Madeline! Check it out!

We have most likely all heard Matthew 22: 39 where we are told that we “should love your neighbor as yourself.” However, I did not see this verse come to life in my own heart until last summer when I had the most incredible opportunity to be a summer intern at First Baptist Church San Francisco.

During my time in San Francisco, I was able to serve weekly at a Bible study and dinner that the church puts on for the homeless population in the city. Each week, around 100 homeless men and women would come to the church and allow us to serve them. I was completely blown away by the faithfulness of God to bring some of the same faces to the dinners each week. One memory that really sticks out to me would be when a homeless woman who had close to nothing, brought us little gifts and trinkets! So beautiful and humbling.

I felt so honored that this sweet woman thought to bring gifts to us, when she had nothing for herself. This sweet woman was loving her neighbors (my best friend and me) more than she was loving herself! What a perfect example of Jesus’ character. I believe that by truly serving the “least of these,” God showed me a glimpse of His love for all people, regardless of background, socioeconomic status, skin color or anything else.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 25: 40, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ This amazingly cool verse really puts loving and serving your neighbors in a whole new perspective. 

What if we woke up with this verse in mind everyday? It’s been an incredible journey to see how God is slowly removing the scales off my eyes to see people and love people as He does, free of judgement and full of love, grace and truth. I am learning to love my neighbor as myself by always keeping in mind where God saved me from. 

We are so broken and so in need of a savior and I hope that I can love my neighbors as Christ has always loved me. I fully believe that God allowed me to see a glimpse of His love for all people at the perfect time in my life (because, duh!, He’s God) because the internship was during the summer before my freshman year of college. I needed to have the scales removed off my eyes so that I may love those around me at school and in my dorm.

College is so hectic at times that I find myself starting to focus solely on myself and not on my neighbors around me who need to know the love of Christ. He always aligns my heart and priorities back to Him and His word. I pray that the Lord would continue to give me eyes to see His children and a heart to love those around me.

May I encourage you to seek the Lord and His heart for the neighbors He has placed around you?I’m learning that this heart change will not happen overnight but I am so excited to see the lessons I learn through this process! - Madeline

Madeline is a sophomore pre-nursing student at the University of Arkansas. She hopes to become a Registered Nurse and be a medical missionary, whether that be abroad or a hospital in the states. Madeline loves all things college football, coffee and spending time outside.