Morning, March 12, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“You shall love your neighbor.” — Matthew 5:43
“Love your neighbor.” Perhaps he is rolling in riches, and you are poor, and living in your little hammock alongside his lordly mansion; you see every day his estate, his fine linen, and his extravagant banquets. God has given him these gifts, do not covet his wealth or think unkind thoughts concerning him. Be content with your own lot in life, if you cannot better it, but do not look upon your neighbor, and wish that he were as yourself. Love him, and then you will not envy him.
Perhaps, on the other hand, you are rich, and near you reside the poor. Do not scorn to call them neighbors. Acknowledge that you are bound to love them. The world calls them your inferiors. In what are they inferior? They are far more your equals than your inferiors, for God has “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth.” It is your attire which is better than theirs, but you are by no means better than they. They are men, and what are you more than that? Take heed that you love your neighbor even though he may be in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty.
But, perhaps, you say, “I cannot love my neighbors, because despite all I do they return ingratitude and contempt.” So much the more, room is made for the heroism of love. Would you be a comfortable warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if your path of love is rough, tread it boldly, still loving your neighbors through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they are hard to please, do not seek to please them, but to please your Master; and remember if they spurn your love, your Master has not spurned it, and your deed is as acceptable to him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love your neighbor, for in so doing you are following the footsteps of Christ.