Does love mean valentines and chocolates and red roses or does love mean sacrifice, the kind of sacrifice that a mother might make to give her child a good start in life?
Throughout scripture, we are told in so many words, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus tells us: Our neighbor is the person who needs help. And we love our neighbor by stepping up and helping.
It doesn’t matter if our neighbor is rich or poor, speaks the same language we do or not, worships the same way we do or not, or even loves the same kinds of people we love. No, our neighbor is our equal.
And we are to love our neighbor by wanting and working toward what’s right for her. If our neighbor is hungry, we work to make sure she has food. If she’s sick, we work to make sure she’s cared for. If she’s in trouble or danger, we work to make sure she’s safe.
And we work to make the world a better place–not just for us, but for all of us. That’s loving our neighbor. That’s the love that leads to justice.
This message is an excerpt from a Women of the ELCA monthly devotion by Audrey Novak Riley.