Aren’t Friday nights the best? I love Friday nights, especially in the summer! There is nothing that tops the reward of working all week, to come home and enjoy your Friday nights with friends and family around a bonfire and indulge in some great food and a few drinks. My favorite is when I have people over to my house and then I can spoil my visitors and my family with lots of munchies and other treats. I love it.
To me this is what is meant by the second most important commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” It’s a time to get with the people that you enjoy after a long hard week of work and relax together. Such a simple commandment has such a deeper meaning that just hanging around a bonfire with your neighbor. This commandment in the literal sense is just this, but just like most of the Bible, there are so many levels to these seven little words.
First of all, this doesn’t mean that you are kind to just your neighbor, it means everyone that you come in contact with throughout your day and even life. This includes that friend from high school that you are still harboring a grudge towards because she made fun of the pimple on your forehead in 11th grade. This means that mother at day care that might have said something about your child in passing and you took it the wrong way and are secretly hoping that her child grows warts all over their body. Even the co-worker that drives you crazy day in and day out because the way you see your work and the way they see your work is not the same. This means EVERYONE. Not just the people that you enjoy being around—but everyone.
Secondly, loving your neighbor means encouraging people in your life to do the right thing, and not what is going to be the best for you. It means cheering on your co-worker who might be up for the same promotion as you are. It means that you are happy for the child who just won the big educational award that your child has been longing for since they started middle school. Its feeling happiness in your heart for when good things happen to others when you feel like all you get are rough breaks. Is this hard to do? Definitely, but if you would be happy if wonderful things came upon yourself, then you have to be happy when it comes upon others.
And finally, it is about being totally unselfish. When something horrible happens to you and you feel like you were treated badly in a situation, you don’t wallow in self-pity, you find a way to push out the desire to feel sorry for yourself and put a smile on your face anyway. Maybe your husband hasn’t been the stand-up guy that you have been wanting him to be lately; or a friend hasn’t been there for you when you needed them; maybe your children are taking you for granted and totally exhausting you; and that boss of yours you can never make happy and you feel like giving up. All these things might make you feel like lying around and sulking about how horrible you have been treated. Don’t! Get up and shower these people with kindness. It comes back to that old saying, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” Watch how things in your life turn around by putting everyone above yourself.
I was studying Deuteronomy 28, the very first verse was the one that touched me the most. It said, “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations and the earth.” This is Moses explaining to his people the blessings that will be brought upon them for following the Lord’s commandments, but the same will happen for you. Just rise above those selfish feelings that take over your mind and focus your energy on loving your neighbor, which includes everyone in your life.
Friday nights are worth waiting for, and maybe your Friday nights will be even better if you learn to put everyone ahead of yourself all week long? It might be hopeful thinking, but I know I love to dote on the people in my world and I never want anything in return. Is this because I am focusing on the second most important commandment? No! It was what my mother modeled for me all my life, and I am just lucky enough to enjoy being the way she was.
I’m working hard on being a selfless person, because when you have an incredible mother like mine, who put you ahead of herself all her life, it is an enormous adjustment. I am reassured by Deuteronomy 28 of all the blessing that I will receive being selfless, which makes the transition easier. I will be spoiling my children just the way my altruistic mother spoiled me and I hope my children are as proud of me as I am my mom who showed me what it is to love your neighbor like you would love yourself!
Happy Friday everyone!