Study Guide: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Sunday November 17, 2019 | David Morrow

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

God created us to live in love for others, however, we fall short of this reality. In this sermon, David explores three barriers to loving others: religion, political affiliations and hurry. Addressing these three barriers will not only change your experience of love with others, but also it will change how you love God.

Extended Summary:

This sermon focuses on loving others, a crucial part of 4D love. David Marrow begins by asking why loving others matters to God. He argues that how we treat other people, who are made in the image of God, is how we treat God. Our love for God is expressed in our love for others. Therefore, our relationships with other people are crucial to our life with God.

How we relate to others is influenced by how we were loved in the early period of life, which has been explored through Attachment theory in this series. Anxious attachment results in an overly-high view of others, and an unreasonably low view of self. Those who lean toward avoidant attachment have an overly positive view of self and a negative view of others.

To explore this further, David identifies three barriers to loving others well. This is explored through the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story that Jesus told to confront common relationship barriers of his day. There are three basic barriers:

Barrier #1: Religion
Religious systems focus on rules and causes us to miss people. The rules create boxes for ourselves and for others, and therefore we are unable to know others. We develop assumptions about others instead of knowing who they are as people. We do this, in part, because we believe that our job is to follow the rules instead of engaging people.

Barrier #2: Political Affiliations
This results in groups that are divided against one other. This is not merely an experience in governmental organizations. It can actually pervade our private lives because it is based on the assumption that my group is right and the other groups is wrong, an us vs. them mentality where my group operates in exclusion to all others. This can be illustrated by the two camps of progressive and conservative Christians. Each is critical of the other, making enemies of those in the opposing group.

Barrier #3: Hurry
This relate to the modern experience of hurry or lack of margin, a life pattern that causes us to see and engage people. The focus lies on the task at hand at the exclusion of acknowledging the people around us.

These barriers give us a hint as to how we fail to love God. Since the way we love others is the way that we love God, the barriers that arise between us and other people are the same barriers we experience with God.

Reflection Questions: