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Neighbor

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Hopefully, through the above description of loving God with your body, it has become apparent that it is actually impossible to love God without loving others. Huh? That’s right. The way we love God with our body is to love others. Jesus’ first followers — the ones who wrote the letters in what we call the New Testament — talked about this above all other things. If we cannot love others — not just those who love us back, but love the unlovely and the enemy — then the love of God is not in us and we are just playing a self-centered religious game.

Here is where the “Overflow” piece comes to play. If the love of God is truly present in our clay pot, and we are allowing it to flow freely, then the natural byproduct of that will be that it fills to the top and spills out onto those around us. Think of it like one of those cascading punch fountains that you see at wedding receptions. The top pot is the smallest and it overflows into a bigger pot below it, which then overflows into a bigger pot below it, and so on. The overflow of God’s love from our heart flows in a similar fashion where the pots below us are the concentric spheres of relationship that begin with our most intimate and spread out to our close friends, our family, our faith community, our geographical/political community, our enemies, and the planet itself. The deeper and harder the love of God flows into us, the farther out the love will spread.

Now, imagine if everyone on the planet had the love of God flowing like this and everyone was flowing into one another. We would be swimming in other-oriented love and grace. Enemies would not persist in self-preservation and other-annihilation but would seek to find mutually beneficial alternatives. Rich people would use their resources to care for the poor, the hungry, and the helpless. Powerful people would protect the weak. Fathers would love mothers, parents would nurture children, and families would work together to bring about good in their neighborhoods. Corporations would seek to offer fair wages and fair prices and ensure that they don’t harm or exploit our natural resources – both human and environmental.