It’s the greatest commandment in the Bible: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus calls us to love the people He’s surrounded us with, in the same way He calls us to love Him! In fact, the verse continues and goes on to say that “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Loving your neighbor carries a lot of weight. It also poses the question of WHO. Who is your neighbor? Is it the person who lives beside you? Well, sure. But I believe loving your neighbor goes far beyond the people we often believe to be our neighbors.
Someone is your neighbor based on proximity. So perhaps your neighbor is the barista who takes your order every morning or the guy who sits in the cubicle next to you. Sometimes your neighbor is not someone who is based on routine proximity to you, but rather, an instant where God brings two of his creations together to become neighbors that love and care for one another.
Whatever “neighbor” looks like to you, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.
These 10 heartwarming stories will inspire you to love your neighbor as yourself today!
Officer Ryan Holets is a father of four from Albuquerque, New Mexico. While out on patrol in September of 2017, Ryan came across a woman named Crystal Champ, and her companion Tom. When he found them, they were shooting up heroin behind a convenience store. Crystal was eight and a half months pregnant.
Concerned with the well-being of the unborn baby, Ryan tried to reason with Crystal. “You’re going to kill your baby,” he told her. The more they talked, the stronger Ryan felt God telling him to adopt Crystal’s baby.
“Tell her that you will do it,” he recalls “because you can.”
Three weeks later, Ryan and his wife became parents for the fifth time, when Crystal gave birth to a baby girl, fittingly named Hope.
But their story doesn’t stop there.
Rather than sending Crystal and Tom to jail for their drug use, Ryan used his own resources to help the two addicts get clean.
Over the last several months, both Crystal and Tom have undergone a 90-day rehabilitation program in which Tom has graduated and Crystal is on her way to graduating and getting back on her feet.
Ryan and his family are the very essence of what it means to love your neighbor.
In response to the ongoing gun violence, mass shootings, and savage deaths of students in the classroom, thousands of high schoolers across the country participated in National School Walkout Day this March.
While many think “walking out” is the answer to fighting school violence, one high school equipped with sticky notes and hearts for change chose to make a difference in their community by “walking up.”
Arbor Preparatory High School students were each given 17 sticky notes to symbolize the 17 lives lost in the most recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Arbor Prep students were encouraged to leave encouraging notes for 14 students and 3 adults.
“As I walked the halls I was overcome with pride for these kids,” Danielle Rae shared on Facebook. “Not a single locker was untouched and they took special care to ensure that everyone from admin to the tech guy and custodian received some love.”
When we love our neighbors, we fill hearts instead of letting hate and loneliness fester.
Being the strong wife and mother that she is, Diana Register often hid her deep pain and suffering from those around her. In the weeks and months following her husband’s cancer diagnosis, Diana would search for “hiding” places where she could let the uncontrollable waterfalls of painful tears flow from her eyes.
“The closet was a favorite. The shower. But when I wasn’t home, it was parking lots that became an asphalt covered oasis,” she writes.
After her husband passed away, parking lots were Diana’s safe haven for grief.
One day, as she was about to place her order in the Dutch Brothers coffee drive-thru, the wave of sadness hit her like a tidal wave in the middle of her conversation with a friend.
“I could barely catch my breath and the ugly crying started,” said Diana. “The problem was, I was stuck in the coffee line. At Dutch Brothers. The one place where all the workers are young, happy and jamming out to music. And there was no way out. I was literally blocked in, so unless I wanted to back right up into the SUV behind me, I was about to be seen for the mess I really was.”
The barista at the window handed Diana an iced coffee with a sweet and simple note scribbled on the top.
“When I looked down in the cup holder, I saw it. A pink straw, and the words ‘We love you’ written around it.”
The girl didn’t know Diana’s pain or her story, but she knew she was hurting and couldn’t fix it. The ironic thing about it is that in loving her neighbor, the barista was used by God to bring comfort that surpasses all understanding.
“She wanted me to know I wasn’t alone. And that whatever trial I was going through, that there were people out there who cared about me. That regardless of knowing all the details, they cared anyway.”
While running errands around Independence, Missouri, Katy Hurst decided to cruise through the drive-thru at her local Burger King.
As she pulled around to the pick-up window, Katy noticed a man with his head buried in his hands, sitting hopelessly inside the restaurant. Her heartfelt his brokenness, and without a second thought, she snapped a picture of him through the window, parked her car, and went inside to sit with him.
Katy soon found out his name was “Pops,” a homeless man in the area who was ready to give up. He told Katy that he was lonely and out of hope.
“He said, ‘I want it to end. I want it to go,’” Katy told 41 Action News. “That’s when I told him, ‘Today is not the day.’”
You better believe Katy went above and beyond to neighbor the heck out of Pops, who had a broken collarbone, broken ribs, and several other physical ailments from living on the streets.
She took the 57-year-old home, helped nurse him back to help, and started a fundraising campaign for his medical needs.
God breaks our hearts for what breaks His. Katy’s heart broke for Pops, and in loving her neighbor as herself, they both found joy and purpose that they never knew existed.
If anyone knows what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus, it’s the masterminds behind everyone’s favorite dining establishment, Chick-fil-A. Not only do they serve THE LORD’S CHICKEN with pleasure and a smile, but they truly live out what it means to be a good steward and love your neighbor as yourself.
When Lindsey Jones accidentally forgot her purse at a Chick-fil-A in Lubbock, Texas, on her drive home to New Mexico, she never expected the ways the restaurant would live out their second-mile service.
She contacted the store and confirmed that they did in fact have her purse, which they would overnight to her.
“With it being a Saturday delivery, and being that I carry a pretty large handbag that weighed 7 lbs, you can imagine it was NOT a cheap shipment!! When I called to give him a FedEx account number to use to pay for it, he told me not to worry about it because it was already taken care of!!!!”
When Lindsey received her bag the next morning, not only was everything there, but they had also sent free food vouchers and plush cows!
If Chick-fil-A in its entirety isn’t a reflection of what it means to love your neighbor, I don’t know WHAT is!
When a homeless man walked into Cesia Abigail Baires’ restaurant asking for money, she refused.
Heartless, you might think, but in fact, Cesia had something better in mind. She asked the homeless man why he didn’t have a job, to which he responded that his past was preventing him from changing his future.
“Well, I have a lot of felonies and no one wants to hire me for that, so now I had to turn myself to the streets and get money the only way I know, stealing and asking for money.”
Instead of giving him money, Cesia gave him a job.
She could never have imagined that her blessing him would wind up being an even bigger blessing to her!
Everyone knows it’s stressful enough to fly the skies as it is. Throw a dad flying solo at Christmas with an 8-month-old into the mix, and you’re looking at the kind of stress that would make someone curl up into a ball and cry.
Little man was doing well on his second flight ever, hanging out on dad’s lap. But it wasn’t long before he decided he was more interested in his neighbor sitting in the window seat than he was in cuddling with dad.
“After brief introductions and him fighting me trying to crawl over to her, she opens her arms and says ‘oh just give him to me!’” The dad wrote on Facebook.
And her offer was all it took!
“Not 60 seconds later he puts his head down on her chest and falls asleep!”
She then proceeded to tell the dad that if he wanted to take a quick nap, she would hold the child so he could catch up on some sleep.
Being seated next to each other made these three neighbors in proximity. But it was the woman’s kindness that showed love to her two neighbors.
After breaking down in the middle of a busy interstate on a hot day in Alabama, Autumn Snyder was two hours from home and literally stuck.
That is — until a superhero state trooper showed up and not only helped them through the situation but went above and beyond to love his neighbors.
Rather than simply diverting traffic from their lane as Autumn expected he’d do, the Alabama state trooper loaded Autumn and her kids in his dispatch vehicle and drove them to the nearest rest stop to get them out of the heat. Autumn’s husband stayed with their vehicle and waited for a tow truck. But once they got to the station, the police officer wasn’t finished neighboring them.
“He checked the bathroom for ‘boogiemans’ so Madeline could use the restroom. He shot illuminating helicopters in the sky with the kids while I made calls to try to get home. Major got really fussy when I was trying to wrangle my other children and calm them down from the evening’s happenings. Without hesitation, he took Major out of his seat and gave him the bottle I had prepared from earlier. It seemed like he does that every day, knew how to hold him and when to burp him. Major even filled his pants during his feeding and the trooper laughed and continued feeding him.”
“He then helped unload all of our stuff from our car to his and drove our family to the nearest hotel. It was late, nothing was open, and we couldn’t get a rental car until the morning. He helped unload our unruly amount of crap into our hotel room, told us where all the rental car places were, gave the girls a hug, and told us to call if we needed anything.”
It’s a police officer’s job to keep us safe. But this, my friends, is ABOVE and BEYOND the call of duty!
In the midst of evil, light will always prevail. That’s one thing that the Bible and the World somehow always find a way to agree on. Nothing shows the power of selflessness and loving your neighbor then doing so in the darkest moments.
That’s just what Brendan Kelly did in October when bullets started raining down on the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Before I knew what was going on, Brendan tackled me down to the ground and covered me from the fire,” a young woman wrote on Facebook. “It stopped again and he looked around to see what was happening and then it just kept going.”
A U.S. Marine, Brendan exceeded his duty to serve and protect. It’s in his blood to put others’ lives before his own, and during the festival, he did just that! Pulling his new blonde friend up from the pile of people, he helped rush her to safety.
When a restaurant customer noticed his waiter, named Johnny, was having a particularly hard day, he responded in a way that most wouldn’t.
Rather than calling over a manager, or leaving Johnny some measly tip to prove a point, the diner summoned his waiter over to the table and gave him a $100 after feeling God nudging him to do so.
“You just paid off my car sir,” said the grateful young man as he stood there weeping in shock.
Then the customer felt he was supposed to sow into Johnny’s life BIG time, and $100 just wasn’t going to do the trick.
All of these beautiful God moments are the very essence of what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. Just because someone doesn’t appear to “deserve” a blessing, doesn’t mean we aren’t still called to love them the way the Lord commands us to. May these stories inspire you to be in tune with the spirit today, to love God with all of your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Be sure to also check out: 20 Inspiring Photos to Restore Your Faith in Humanity