It's easy to love the neighbour who's quiet and no trouble, maybe who even helps out and sends you a Christmas card. But what about the neighbour who's banging around through the night and has screaming matches through the day? Whose antisocial behaviour makes you feel like tearing your hair out? It's not easy to love those whom we don't like or who annoy and upset us.
Then, when you think about it, sometimes it's hard enough to love our own family let alone anyone else, so why love our neighbours?
When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus says in Mark 12:30-31, "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
So, Jesus says, love God first, then your neighbours. These commandments are the top priority. Jesus doesn't say to just love them a little bit, you know just say Hi once a day, that's enough, no Jesus says we are to love them as ourself.
Some of you may think, 'well I don't love myself, I barely like myself somedays'. However - do you you eat? Sleep? Do you take care of your basic needs? These are ways of practically loving yourself.
One thing we overemphasise in our culture is the 'feeling' of love. We might not feel like we love ourselves, or our neighbours, but Jesus in these verses tells us to do it. We can't rely on a feeling, an emotion. It must be about action.
So, how can you show love to your neighbours regardless of whether you want to or not? How can you make them smile or lessen their burden? Could you put out their rubbish? Feed their cat whilst they are away? Or even go round for a cuppa to the lonely person across the street?
Love your neighbour, why? Because Jesus said so!