By Remembering They Are as Important as You Are
We’ve all been told to ‘love my neighbor as much as I love myself’. This sounds simple enough in theory. The problem comes when attempting to put it into action.
What does it mean to “love my neighbor”?
In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus talks about the “Rich Man and Lazarus”. In this story the Rich Man dies and goes to Hell and Lazarus dies and goes to Heaven. There’s no indication in the story that the Rich Man was mean to Lazarus. It appears that he was just oblivious, unaware and uncaring.
The Rich Man doesn’t appear to have been a bad man…so why did he end up in Hell?
Loving your neighbor begins with loving God. Loving your neighbor as much as yourself is found in Matthew 22:36-40. In this Scripture, before Jesus says anything about your neighbor He says to, “Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and most important command.” After that He says to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This has to be done in the right order. God first…everything else after.
So, why did Lazarus make it to Heaven and the Rich Man ended up in Hell? It’s pretty simple really. The Rich Man didn’t believe. You can’t earn your way into Heaven by doing good, Ephesians 2:4-10. You can’t buy your way into Heaven with money, Acts 8:18-21. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with having money or doing good.
You don’t have to be a believer to treat others well, but you do have to be a believer to get to Heaven. If you are a believer, you will treat others well. If you have your priorities in the right order, “Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Then “Loving your neighbor as yourself” will come naturally. Every one of us is as important to God as the next.
There’s only one way to get to Heaven. You must believe that Jesus is God come to earth, that God raised Jesus from the dead and tell this to others.
If the Rich Man had believed, he would have loved Lazarus and treated him differently. Love God. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Believe before it’s too late.
Death is the ultimate equalizer.