If the purpose of all vocations is to love and serve the particular neighbor that vocation brings into your life, what do you do when you don’t really love that neighbor? (George Marquart raised this question in his comment on the article.) I’ll take a stab at the question and then let you. Faith in Christ, we are told in Scripture, bears fruit in love (though we often fall far short, which is why we need to continue to confess our sin). As we love Christ more and more, this overflows into love of our neighbors. What has helped for me is the realization that just as God is hidden in vocation, Christ is hidden in our neighbors. (“Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these my brethren”–or “did it not”–you have done it [or not done it] to me.”) Thinking vocationally makes me realize that God is masked in those who do things for me; that same mindset–realizing that God hides Himself–has helped me to realize that Christ is hidden in my neighbors, which makes it easier for me to love them.
How to love someone you don’t love
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About Gene Veith
Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.