Why It’s So Hard to Love Thy Neighbor

We’re here to help you learn and grow, so naturally, we share affiliate links for products that we use and love. When you click on one of these links, we will earn a small amount of money, at no additional cost to you, which we’ll use towards keeping the lights on here! You can read our full disclaimer here.

If you’ve ever spent any time in the church, I’m sure you’ve heard at least one sermon on the power of love.  There’s no shortage of exclamations on this truth with staple scriptures such as John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 being shared not only from the pulpit, but from football stadiums and at many a wedding.

So if it’s such a common and easily discussed topic, why is it so hard for us to love our neighbor?  

My church is blessed to be following a journey through the Bible together (follow along with our daily reading) and we recently completed our exploration through the book of Exodus.

So with the gift of the 10 commandments still fresh in our minds, it was easy to expand on them through our current study of 1 Corinthians, where the greatest gift is discussed in great detail. Love.

We moved from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  To some people, it was huge a sigh of relief. What with all of the Old Testament laws, it’s easy to become discouraged in your reading.

There’s nothing humanly possible about what is shared there. But the New Testament, it’s full of love and hope and it’s much more comfortable.  Right?

Pastor Tim effectively burst our bubble last week by reminding us that the laws of the Old Testament and the New Testament’s Law of Love are one and the same.

“You won’t lie to, or cheat, or murder your neighbor if you love him.”

I understand those are drastic actions taken against your neighbor, friend or loved one; measures that most of us cannot relate to, so let’s consider one of the other ten, the last of the list:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Exodus 20:17

You shall not covet
.  Covet, it’s not a word typical to our 21st-century vocabulary and so we often dismiss the importance of this verse to our own lives.

According to dictionary.com, to covet means:

to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another’s property or to wish for eagerly.

It only takes about two minutes of scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook to begin desiring and wishing for what someone else has.  Maybe it’s the kind of house they live in, car they drive, style of clothing they wear or the relationship they are in.  Or maybe you just don’t feel like you’ll ever be enough, for whatever your definition of “enough” is.

If put to the test, how well would you hold up against the Old Testament laws in Exodus 20 or the greatest law in Matthew 22?

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”  
Matthew 22:37-40

Why it’s so hard to love thy neighbor

Jesus commands us to love our neighbors, our friends, our family, our acquaintances, even our enemies as we love ourselves. That’s not with a placated smile or for the sake of being civil, but loving them in spite of their faults because you too are not perfect.

“But Bree…” you’re probably thinking, “you don’t understand, I cannot love so-and-so because of what they’ve done.”  Believe me, I understand!  It’s a struggle that I face too.  And that was exactly Pastor Tim’s point to his sermon.

There’s nothing humanly possible about following the laws of the Old Testament (or the New Testament since they are one and the same) because it’s not something that we as humans are meant to do alone.  

We need the support of community and we need the help of the Father.

By recognizing our desperate need for a Savior we are granted yet another gift, the gift of possibility.  A possibility that allows us to move beyond our brokenness and into a life of purpose, finding our “enough” in Him who loves us so much that He came into this ugly world while we were still sinners and died in our place (Romans 5:8).

My questions for you…

Was this a difficult lesson for you?  Did it make you stop and think about the way that you live your life?  Did you recognize yourself in the lifestyle of coveting/desiring or not feeling “good enough”?


Similar Posts


  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.
    Love the reminders!

  2. If it was easy to love our neighbor, then the world wouldn’t look like it does. I shake my head when I hear claims that mankind is becoming more and more loving, patient, tolerant, etc. All I have to do is look in the mirror to know that isn’t so. We do have a “desperate need for a Savior.”

  3. Great encouragement here, Bree. We’ve been studying the book of James and your words just brought me back to those reminders of mercy. To not be a respecter of persons, but to put on the love of Christ and extend mercy and kindness to those around us. So much easier said than done, right?! But something that has to be at the forefront of our minds if we want to honor Him. Thanks for filling that tank today. Blessings!

    1. I love this, “not be a respecter of persons, but to put on the love of Christ and extend mercy and kindness to those around us”. Amen! Blessed to know that this message spoke to you today.

  4. Some days it’s just plain hard to love others as Jesus would want me to. That’s where I have to admit my weakness and ask for His help. He has enough grace to pour out. Thank you for sharing at The Weekend Brew!

    1. I fully agree, Barbie. This is without a doubt a challenge for many of us, to surrender daily to His will. Thankfully we’re not alone in this! Thank you so much for stopping by.

  5. I enjoyed the part about “loving your neighbor as yourself” being impossible. I knew the old covenant was impossible and just preparing us for the new but had never thought of that:)
    Good to know, 1 more big thing to rely on His grace for.
    Thank you Bree!

  6. I am kind, respectful , caring, and considerate of all of my neighbors. I consider that as loving my neighbor, even though my neighbors can sometimes be unkind, disrespectful, and inconsiderate. It’s definitely a challenge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.