Bob Goff: Love God and Love Your Neighbor

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Everybody Always" by Bob Goff. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Why does Bob Goff say it’s so important to love God and love your neighbor? How did Bob Goff’s neighbor inspire her whole neighborhood?

In his book Everybody, Always, Bob Goff talks about the importance of loving your neighbor as you love yourself. He gives an example about his neighbor Carol who inspired her whole neighborhood during her battle with cancer.

Continue reading to learn why Bob Goff says you should love God and love your neighbor.

See the Beauty in Your Neighbors

Love your neighbors as you love yourself. To show yourself love is to love God because you are the embodiment of God’s love, but so is everyone else. You can’t truly love God unless you love all of God, meaning each person who embodies Him. That’s why Bob Goff says to love God and love your neighbor in his book Everybody, Always.

There is no secret code to solve the riddle of how to love others. Your mission is to find a way to love everyone without fear regardless of who they are. That’s why Jesus asked you to love your neighbors first and foremost because when you learn to overcome the most difficult love hurdles first, your ability to love everyone else grows stronger. 

Your neighbors are not merely the people who live next to you. Every person in the world is your neighbor, and you are theirs. They are the store clerk, the mayor, the homeless man on the corner, the mail person, the sexworker, and the local butcher. You have something in common with all of them—you are all part of God’s neighborhood. 

It’s not possible to meet and know every living person, but it is possible to love each person you come into contact with. You just have to do it. Start by viewing life as a place for joy, and love becomes the subsequent benefit. In a world full of joy, anger and pride take a backseat to love. In this world, you don’t have to try to control what others think or do, and you stop seeing people as problems and start seeing them as opportunities to grow closer to God. You love people like God when you open yourself up to learning from them. 

The Power of Neighbors

Carol’s (Bob Goff’s neighbor) cancer battle raged on and weakened her body. After years of struggling and treatment, the doctor’s told Carol there was nothing more they could do. She was going to die. Bob sat with her in the hospital and reminisced about life. One of the memories they talked about was the annual New Year’s Day parade Bob and his family held in their neighborhood. They started the parade as a way to show their love and appreciation for the people around them. The first year, eight people attended. Twenty-two years later, more than 400 people participated in the short parade down their street. 

Carol was too sick to walk the parade route the year before, so Bob had put her in the sidecar of his motorcycle and drove her up and down the street. Everyone knew what Carol was fighting and showered her with attention. She was the hit of the parade. That day in the hospital, Carol told Bob she was going to miss the parades. Bob prayed she would see at least one more. 

Carol held on for one more year. When the morning of the parade came, she couldn’t get out of bed. Bob’s children carried her to her living room window to watch the parade pass by. When the parade reached her house, instead of walking by, the route turned onto her front lawn. 

Nearly 500 people walked across the yard to the window to say goodbye. Some made funny faces, some bounced balloons off the glass, and some blew kisses. Carol cried and blew each of them kisses back. They were all neighbors that day. They showed Carol love, and she showed it back to them. When she died a few days later, she was wrapped in the spirit of God’s love delivered through her neighbors. 

Bob Goff: Love God and Love Your Neighbor

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Bob Goff's "Everybody Always" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Everybody Always summary:

  • How to live your life like Jesus lived his
  • Why you need to open yourself up to God's love and give love to others
  • How to deepen your faith by focusing on love rather than showing that you "agree" with God

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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