I spent most of my childhood living in the “country” with practically no neighbors. I now live in almost the center of Wichita. Having neighbors has been an interesting experience for Ben and myself.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and being and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Love your neighbor in the very same way you pamper, advocate for, and defend your own life. This seems pretty clear.

But, who is my neighbor? Could it refer to the people who we meet throughout our day? Does it literally mean the people in my neighborhood? What about the students in my classroom? Are they my neighbors? What about all the people who I just don’t like? Are they my neighbors? Or is it something more than all these?

My initial answer is that everyone I encounter is my neighbor, but with that my conclusion must be that I surely don’t love all these as I should. I fall short of the kind of love Jesus proclaimed every single day. There are students I don’t love at all. There are people I work with that I don’t think of as my neighbor. There are even people who I go to church with that I don’t like one bit and we are supposed to be “family”.

Our culture says love yourself because if you don’t, no one else will. Jesus says, because I have loved you so deeply when you were thoroughly unlovely, go out and love others in the same way.

Now that’s a love dare….