Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Good Neighbors, Part II

We started thinking about this concept yesterday . . . I'd like to continue this today -- and if we need to, we'll tack on another day to finish it up! 

I think we can all remember times when we needed help, and someone was a "good Samaritan" and helped us out. Perhaps you make a habit of doing that yourself.  Before the days of a-cell-phone-in-every-pocket, I can recall being on the side of the road with a flat tire, and three kids in the car. How grateful I was for that stranger who stopped and helped me as I struggled with the tire iron and jack! He would not accept anything except my "thank you" as payment, since as he said, "we all need some help now and then." 

How important is this concept in our faith lives? How vital is this to us as Christians? Important enough that Jesus included it on at least two separate occasions in His teachings: First, as part of what we now call the "Sermon on the Mount":

Matthew 7:12
"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

Then, later in His ministry, when the Pharisees were trying to trip Him up with their questions:

Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
"This is the first and great commandment.
"And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
"On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

OK, we can all agree that it truly is important. But some days I just don't FEEL like being a good neighbor to that person. How can I get motivated to do what I know I should do?

1 John 3:17
But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Here is where the rubber meets the road, ladies (and any gents that happen to be reading today). A person must have compassion if he or she wants to be able to genuinely help others. Human beings have a natural compassion, but too often we learn to shut our eyes and hearts to the needs around us. We should seek to reverse that trend, and we should ask God to give us His love and the deeper compassion that comes through His Holy Spirit.

Now that we have a "what" and a "how" --- how about a "why" for all of this? Check out Romans 15:2 . . .

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.

Paul is saying that if we are good neighbors, we will be building them up --- constructing better people --- living out an example of how they should live, too. In other words, a simple act or word from us can change lives!

We still haven't addressed the question from Tuesday, of "who is my neighbor," though. Let's tackle that one tomorrow, shall we?


Belinda said...

1 John 3:17 always gets to me. I would use my money more often to help others if my husband was in more agreement. I have to honor his wishes though.

As far as our neighbor...wouldn't that be anyone else? Everyone else?

Hillbilly Tonya said...

I don't think alot of money needs to be spent to make a difference. God will show us what we need to do.

I organized a $1 shower in my Christian womens group. We all sent cards and $1 bills to a lady, and some of us sent several $1 bills. It didnt' take much to show love to a neighbor that way.