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Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

February is the month of Valentine’s Day, and that usually means chocolates, roses, and candy hearts for one’s “sweetheart.” It’s supposed to be a celebration of “love.”

However, love is so much more than chocolates, roses, candy hearts and romance. Unconditional love means to love without counting the cost. Unconditionally loving someone doesn’t have to be romantic love. As Jesus commanded us, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In my novel, Ella’s Promise, Ella is a nurse who shows unconditional love of her neighbor through her treatment of patients. She gives her best whether the patient is an American or a German soldier. And she does this even when her superior officer instructs her to ignore German patients.

If you’ve ever seen the movie Hacksaw Ridge or read the story of Desmond Doss, you’ll know that he enlisted in WW 2 as a medic but refused to carry a gun because he didn’t want to kill another human being. He was ostracized by his fellow comrades but eventually went on to gain their respect when he risked his life and saved dozens of soldiers. He didn’t stop and examine each man to determine whether they were American or Japanese. All he kept saying was “Please, Lord, help me get one more.” He saved 75 soldiers.

It’s not always easy to love our neighbor as ourselves. While the two previous stories can be seen as extreme ways of loving one’s neighbor, there are many less-extreme opportunities of loving. Allowing someone to go in front of you at the store, spending more time listening rather than speaking, and praying for our neighbors are all ways we can love unconditionally.

When someone cuts us off in traffic or shoves us as we’re walking into a store, we take a deep breath and say, “Perhaps that person is having a bad day. Take care of them, God.”

It isn’t easy, but there are many opportunities every day to show and practice unconditional love.

If this theme interests you, be sure to check out these CTB books with themes of unconditional love:

  • In Julia’s Gifts, Julia gives soldiers medical attention even when they are close to death.

  • In Charlotte’s Honor, Charlotte shows unconditional love to dying soldiers by remaining at their bedside until they die.

  • In Ella’s Promise, Ella cannot ignore the enemy soldiers as she is instructed to do and instead saves the life of one enemy soldier.

  • In 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, Wendy shows love for her elderly neighbor.

  • In 6 Dates to Disaster, Wendy goes to great lengths to try to help that neighbor who has developed dementia.

  • A character in Heaven’s Hunter forgives his enemy, helps him when he’s in trouble, and eventually gives his life for him.

  • In Where You Lead, Eve befriends an elderly neighbor, slowly guiding her back to her faith.

  • In Battle for His Soul, Roland rises above his older brother's bad behavior in order to help him find faith.

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