Thy Neighbor

It’s confession time. This one hit me around 3am this morning. Matthew 19:19 says “…love thy neighbor as thyself”. Am I the only one in the world that applies my own, sad, theology to this verse by saying; “Jesus didn’t really mean our next door neighbors because they didn’t have cul-de-sac’s back then.” Please tell me I’m not the only one….please?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I run and hide when I see my neighbors, I just know, deep down that I don’t follow that verse nearly enough. Then it happens, the neighborhood association sends out an email that informs you that the very people living next door have been rocked with the news of cancer. The compassion side of me immediately kicks in and I want to know what I can do to help.

Did you catch that? You would think that if I really followed Matthew 19:19, I would have already known about this devastating news. Maybe our family would have been the one they called when they needed someone to cry with.  We could have already been preparing their meals and taking care of their children. Maybe we would have been the ones that could have prayed with them, no matter where they are spiritually. Why does it take a tragedy for me to commit those verses to heart and suddenly be or show what I should have all along?

Lord, give me the courage to really love my neighbors long before tragedy knocks on any of our doors. Hold that family in your care and be their comforter, protector and healer, as only you can.

9 thoughts on “Thy Neighbor

  1. On ongoing criticism of mine concerning American culture and the state of the church these days is that most of us know more about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes than we do about our immediate neighbors.

    I’m guilty too.

  2. I can totally relate to this. I like to pick and choose who God wants me to minister to – and of course make up excuses for people who are more difficult or less comfortable – often including my physical neighbor.

  3. Aaron, great thoughts, man. I just confessed to our body here that I like to hide when I go home. It’s so selfish and as a result, has nothing to dowith Christ in me and I’m realizing the damage this has done. I need his purification from this selfishness and the grace to offer them what I have…love.

    Thanks.

  4. I was thinking about neighbours just this morning when I was still in bed and I heard some strange noises coming from outside, and I realised I don’t know any of my neighbours. I have not even seen most of my neighbours. The noises were nothing but reading this post is like confirmation that I need to wake up and pray. Thanks.

  5. This one applies to me today. I live in a NYC apartment with paper thin walls and my neighbor likes to blast his bass-thumpin’ music all night. Then, I wake up in the morning to hear his girlfriend using every expletive imaginable during the course of what would be a seeminly casual converstation. I talk to him and he’s quiet for a day, but then back at it again the next night. I pray, I explain I work two jobs, I approach him gently, then a few days later firmly. All to no avail. And I’m supposed to love this guy. The funny thing is that I actually get along with the guy. I just get annoyed when I have to hear Jay-Z at 3 a.m. rapping about how he’s gonna cap somebody. Sorry for this rant, but I needed to vent. Thanks for this post. I needed it.

  6. All – Thanks for your responses. It would appear that I am not alone (thankfully). My wife had the opportunity to speak to our neighbor by phone (she is in the hospital now) yesterday. I hate that it took a tragedy for us to get to know our neighbor, but I am hoping God can use us for His purpose in the face of their struggle.

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