Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Read: 1 John 4:7-16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (v. 16 NIV)

It was a cold afternoon when Maria came, carrying her three-year-old son on her back, with her five-year-old daughter trotting along behind. The boy was burning up with fever.

I invited them into our living room where we had a fire in the fireplace. I am not a doctor or a nurse, but we prayed for God’s healing and I gave the boy some medicine I used for our children. Slowly he responded.

As the fire died down in the fireplace, I went to put more wood on it. Maria exclaimed, “Don’t use your firewood for us.”

The native people carry their firewood from the forest to their homes for cooking. They don’t use firewood just to keep themselves warm. Maria was concerned about my running out of firewood by keeping the house warm for her and her children—that’s love!

Later, when her son was feeling better, we shared coffee and cookies. The five-year-old daughter picked up three of the cookies on her plate and slipped them into her mother’s bag, saying, “These are for my sisters.”

To instinctively care for others, to put aside cookies for your sisters when you rarely have one to eat yourself—that too is love. —Helen Hofman

As you pray, ask Jesus to teach you to love your neighbor just as he loves you.

About the Author

Helen Hofman is a retired missionary. She and her husband Sam worked with the Tzeltal and Tojolabal Indians of Chiapas, Mexico for more than forty years. In their work, they helped set up a Bible School to train the Tzeltals, taught in the Bible School, prepared Sunday School materials, textbooks, hymnals and audiovisuals. They also coordinated the translation of the Amatenango Tzeltal New Testament and the revision of the highland Tzeltal Bible.