I've been in my new neighborhood for 3 1/2 months now. I'm still waiting to meet most of the families all around me. It's hard to do when most of them work odd hours and come & go so quickly that I miss them pulling in and out. I've become a little bit like Gladys Kravitz y'all…
However, I am determined to be friends. Before the cows come home!
On my way out the door for church yesterday, I read the meanest post on Facebook. It was by someone who is my Facebook "friend". Seriously, I try to be careful what I say on there because I know how easy it is to feel offended. At the same time, as a Christian….I can't help but stand up for truth when I see it being beaten down. It seems like this person is constantly sticking garbage on to get a reaction out of the readers. Most of it, false and inappropriate. I, being of solid flesh wanted to respond. However, I was….you know, heading to CHURCH!
Lord, You love me so….
Here is where I tell you that while I know about 6000 other people attend my new church, the message was fairly customized for one.
The topic was compassion and the scripture taken from the Good Samaritan parable in Luke 10. The focus of the sermon was how each of us should reflect Jesus Christ and His love/compasion. No matter who we are, what color our skin might be or if we even like one another. We are to LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR as ourself.
I had long forgotten the Facebook post as I scribbled down notes and listened with perked up ears. I mean, hello….I am a studious follower! I want to learn! I want to grow! And then he said, "YOUR neighbor is most likely going to be that person you don't like! The one who rubs you the wrong way or insults & offends you. That one, that's the one God wants you to show compassion to!". What? Nooooo, come on Lord. I want to avoid that person. I want to spout sassy comments back on their Facebook feed when I feel the need to set them straight. All in the name of righteousness, ya know?!
Oh the sting! Oh the conviction! Oh the gentle reminder that I don't have to "like" everything someone else might say or even agree. But I do have to be LIKE CHRIST when dealing with them. Why? Because that's who God wants me to be. I can't impact anyone for HIS GLORY if I'm acting like a jerk and neither can you.
People are going to annoy us. People are going to offend us. People are people! They can be flawed, mean, say foolish things….even behave horribly. But God wants us to love them anyway. They are our neighbors. They are placed strategically in our lives and it is our privilege to love them, right where they are.
It didn't take me long to figure out who MY NEIGHBOR was thanks to the sermon.
Who's YOUR neighbor? Are you loving them….like you love God & yourself?