Let us love our neighbour as we are loved by God!

Charity in a nutshell: “We treat one another as Jesus treats us,” said the Chief Apostle. But is this even possible in everyday life? And if so, how?

A total of 4,100 participants came together in Monrovia, Liberia for a divine service with Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider on Sunday, 13 October 2019. Many other people throughout the entire country also witnessed the divine service on the radio and on television. The Church leader based his sermon on a passage from Matthew 7: 12: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

This statement, which is also known as the “Golden Rule” actually has nothing to do with the Christian faith, said Chief Apostle Schneider. He went on to explain that this rule exists in all cultures and is simply founded on common sense. After all, “this is what everyone should do in order to make community and life possible.” But here, this rule is cited by Jesus Christ in association with the Mosaic Law. “Naturally, this means that we must give thought to it. But it implies much more than merely saying, ‘If you do not want people to kill each other, then do not kill them,’” said the Church leader.

Jesus Christ summarised the commandments of God as follows: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and ‘your neighbour as yourself’” (Luke 10: 27). “As Christians, we believe that God is love.” And this love has an influence on the believer with respect to God and his neighbour, said the Church leader. After all, “How can you love God, whom you have not seen, and not love your brother, whom you have seen?” Loving our neighbor means that we want him to experience the same love of God that we have experienced.” And he went on to add: “You want to treat him as Jesus treats you.”

There is so much potential for suffering when it comes to interpersonal relationships: disinterest, discrimination, disloyalty, manipulation, and irreconcilability are constantly causing misery. The Chief Apostle listed five points on how to counter these:

1. Treating our neighbour with sympathy and pulling the plug on indifference: “We are not indifferent. We do not look away when we see that someone is suffering. We do not say, “Oh well, that’s your problem! That has nothing to do with me!” Christians are sympathetic when others suffer, when they are sad and in misery.

2. Respecting our neighbour and preventing discrimination: “We do not make any distinctions! Regardless whether our neighbour is poor or rich, young or old, healthy or sick, from the same village or from another country…” Christians do not reject anyone.

3. Winning the trust of our neighbour and not abusing it: “Let us be credible to our neighbour. Let us tell the truth.” This honesty and dependability are important in all relationships, but especially with respect to the ministers and in our dealings with one another in partnership and family life.

4. Treating our neighbour with genuine love and putting our own interests into the background: “We want our neighbour to be saved because we love them.” It is a concern for all Christians that their neighbour may experience the love of God. Our own advantage and interests will not motivate us to reach out to our neighbour.

5. Forgiving our neighbour and not holding grudges against them for years: “Let us love our neighbour just as Jesus treats us. Let us forgive him. Naturally we may not be able to forget what he has done, but it is certainly possible not to mention it anymore. We simply do not talk about it.”

“We love our neighbour because we want to have fellowship with God,” concluded the Chief Apostle. “We treat others as Jesus treats us, and we contribute to their salvation. We show them our genuine sympathy and respect. We are truthful, unselfish, and genuinely forgiving.”

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Oliver Rütten
Liberia, Chief Apostle, Congregational life