Living As A Neighbor

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor? ESV Luke 10:36

Usually I drive straight home from work. However, the other day, I stopped by a widow’s home in our neighborhood and met my boys there to spread mulch. Then I chatted with her for a while. After that, I stopped by another home where I’m getting the mail and feeding the cat while they are out of town. Long story short, I got home two hours later than normal. Yesterday I spent time tracking down the guy that does the sign in the front of the community to coordinate a neighborhood effort to keep them in good repair. Again, it took precious time out of my day. I share these stories not to laud my actions (because this was actually the first sacrificial time with my neighbors in a LONG time), but to demonstrate the cost of living neighborly.

Most people agree we should love our neighbors. It sounds good on paper. It takes a high level of commitment though, more than we are often willing to do. It’s easy to say we want to love our neighbors; it’s another to actually mow their lawn (when your own lawn needs mowing), visit with them (when you haven’t even called your mother), converse with them (when you are running late)… However, as part of our spiritual formation Jesus called us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

This drives us back to the gospel. Apart from the power of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit, it is quite impossible to love our neighbors as we ought. Only when we meditate on Christ’s love for us can we find the power and time to begin to engage them in a way that demonstrates true love. Only when we realize that Christ loved us in our sinfulness, can we engage our neighbors in their sinfulness (it’s very hard for me to love people that I perceive as not worthy of it…for instance, if they blew their money on a BMW, and now can’t afford a mower for their yard, and ask me to mow it, I tend to judge and not want to do it). However, as I realize Christ’s sacrifice for me, I’m moved with compassion to love. Join me in loving our neighbors, and pray they see His love in us and follow Him.

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