A Practical Way to Love Your (Self-Isolated) Neighbor by ELIJAH ELKINS for The Gospel Coalition
Over the last year my wife, Tana, and I have been gathering with a few Christian neighbors in our small village for friendship and fellowship. Often we’ve prayed for our village, asking God to show us how to love and serve our neighbors.
A few days ago, we began praying in a more specific way: How do we love our neighbors now? How do we love them even if they’ve gotten the coronavirus?
Jesus said we, his followers, are to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. This is who we are. This is our identity. We are to illumine places and feelings and topics of darkness and fear. We are to prevent decay and preserve life. We are to continue shining in the face of COVID-19. And we’re to love our neighbors who’ve caught coronavirus.
As A. W. Tozer put it, “A frightened world needs a fearless church.”
Time of Opportunity
We’ve begun to see this as an opportunity, a defining moment in history for God’s people. The coronavirus outbreak has shown how quickly fear can cause panic. It’s understandable for people who don’t know Jesus. This life is all they have. But Jesus tells his people not to fear:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
A few nights ago, we prayed for our neighbors and for the world. We prayed Jesus would move in powerful ways by his Spirit during these troubled times. We prayed God would bring healing to the sick and hope to the afraid. We prayed Jesus would move his body, the church, to love their neighbors sacrificially amid their fear; that they’d love people by being willing to put themselves at risk; that they’d show the world Christ’s love.