If you are a follower of Jesus you are commanded to love your neighbor. And right now you have an opportunity to do just that. You should love your neighbor during the Coronavirus epidemic.
Before we go any further, we need to define the term neighbor. In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus defines neighbor as anyone you come in contact with. For us, our neighbors aren’t just those we live in close proximity too. Our neighbors are anyone we come in contact with. When I use the term neighbor in this article I’m defining the term as Jesus defined it.
Why You Should Love Your Neighbor
In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus makes the audacious claim that whatever you do for someone in need you have done for God himself. In other words, when we see someone hungry, naked, thirsty, or in need, we should help them as if they were Jesus himself.
Christians should always be on the lookout for people they can serve. They should be known for caring for the sick, hurting, and needy. Even when it means putting themselves in harm’s way. If Christians ignore the needs around them it’s as if they are ignoring Jesus himself.
Martin Luther is most famous for the Reformation. However, he also had to deal with The Black Plague. His advice about how Christians should handle tragedy and disease still holds up today. He manages to balance taking commonsense precautions while still going out of our way to love our neighbors.
I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God. – Martin Luther
Christians ought to be known for going out of their way, at cost to themselves, for the benefit of those in need. Right now we have an opportunity to do just that. We have an opportunity to love our neighbors.
So, let’s look at 6 ways we can love our neighbor through the Coronavirus epidemic.
Honor The Severity COVID-19 For The Sake Of Those Most Vulnerable
Some people are still ignoring the warnings and excusing the severity of this virus. If that is you and you are a Christian that needs to stop. You need to take this virus seriously. For most of us, COVID-19 does not pose a serious threat. However, that’s not the case for everyone. There are some that are much more vulnerable.
One of the best, and simplest, ways we can love our neighbor is by taking this seriously.
Follow the rules and guidelines set forth by the governing authorities. Even if you don’t like them or think they are too much, do it anyway. It’s the least you can do to show love to your neighbor.
Check-In With Your Neighbors
As people are becoming increasingly isolated, community and human connection becomes more and more important. We need it. We are designed to do life together. It might look different, but we should still push for community.
You have neighbors, co-workers, friends, or that person you sit next to at soccer games that need community, but are currently isolated. One way you can love them is to check in with them. A phone call, a conversation across the fence, or asking them what they need can make a huge difference.
Especially seek out those that are most vulnerable to COVID-19. They are probably worried and isolated more than the average person. They need human connection and interaction. Don’t let them go through this alone.
Of course, the way you communicate with them will have to be different. But don’t let that stop you. Get creative in ways you can connect. Ask them how they are doing. Offer them hope. Show them you care. Check-in with your neighbor.
Write Down Their Names And Pray For Them Each Day
Let’s take it a step further. Not only should we check in with our neighbors, but we should pray for them. You probably have extra time on your hands, why not use it to pray for your neighbors?
Write down 5 names of people you know and place it somewhere you will see every day. Maybe even set a reminder on your phone for a specific time.
As you check in with your neighbors you can let them know you are praying for them and ask them if there is anything specific they might need prayer for.
A great way to love your neighbor during the Coronavirus epidemic is to pray for them. Spend a few minutes each day praying by name for those that you are checking in with.
Drop Off Food And Supplies To Those Quarantined Or Vulnerable
If you are someone that is not as vulnerable you should go out of your way to pick up food and supplies for those that are more vulnerable. There’s a good chance they are fearful to go out in public and this simple gesture would be a great way to love your neighbor during the Coronavirus epidemic.
Look for ways you can serve your neighbors while the Coronavirus spreads. Help around the yard, pick up supplies, and sharing what you have. You have an opportunity to show God’s love to your neighbors through your actions.
What do your neighbors need that you can provide? Take a little bit of your time and sacrifice what you have so that your neighbors will have what they need.
Remember whatever you give up for your neighbor you have given up for God. Show God’s love by providing and meeting the needs of those around you.
Donate Money/Supplies To Shelters and Food Banks
In times of crisis food banks and shelters still operate and are relied on more than ever. Because of the increase in need they need an increase in support. Don’t let them get stretched thin.
These organizations help meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Which gets more difficult in times of crisis. They need help.
A good way to love your neighbor is to reach out to the food banks, shelters, and organizations serving the most vulnerable in your community and see what they need. Don’t just bring a bag of used or unwanted items. That creates more work than is helpful. Call and see what they need or make a cash donation.
Support Emergency and Hospital Workers
Emergency and hospital workers put themselves in harm’s way every day. They are vital to ensuring we stay safe and have the care we need. Throughout this epidemic, they will be working extra hours and be putting themselves and their families at higher risks for infection.
A good way to love your neighbor during the Coronavirus epidemic is to show your appreciation to emergency and hospital workers.
Think of some creative ways you show them support. Randomly showing up with some grand gesture, while good-hearted, might not be the best. A call ahead with what you would like to do is best. Or asking a friend that works in the field what you can do for them and their co-workers would be a good place to start.
Through this epidemic, you have an opportunity to show love to your neighbors. It doesn’t have to take a lot of work, just opening our eyes and seeing what the needs us are. You have something that someone else could benefit from. So keep your eyes open for ways you can show love to your neighbor.
Let’s hear from YOU! What are the ways you are loving your neighbor?
For more about how Christians can respond to COVID-19 check out: 6 Ways Christians Should Respond To The Coronavirus
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