Posts Tagged 'neighbor'

So I was working at the church this afternoon and 3 of our members were taking care of the lawn when one of them (an Elder) came in jabbering about something.  He was upset about an exchange that had just transpired between him and the next door neighbor to the church.  The neighbor had asked about a property marker (flagged wood stick) that was nowhere to be found and got upset with the Elder.  The Elder apologized and came inside to vent.  We spent a few minutes talking about the entire issue which was of no fault of ours and about how this thing and that thing should have been done by the neighbor or the survey company.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided to go over and talk with our neighbor (It’s farm land that was deeded over to a daughter to build a house on.  The gentleman actually lived a few miles away.).  I introduced myself and apologized for the missing marker expecting him to still be irate over the issue.  His first response was to apologize for how he treated the Elder and for making a big deal out of something that wasn’t that big of a deal.  We proceeded to chat and I found out that he was having a bad day.  (In addition to his bad day, most men I know, including myself, get easily agitated when they are working hard on a project trying to get it done.)  I invited him and his grandsons (they were working on cleaning up the property) into the church for some refreshments.

The church members and myself completely wasted all the time spent talking about the issue.  Not only that, but the more we talked about it, the more we saw how right we were and how wrong the neighbor was.  All we needed to do was to be kind and gracious, even if we were in the right.  You see, being a Christian isn’t about being in the right, being a Christian is about being willing to give up your rights for somebody in need.  And chances are, everybody you come into contact with has a need.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

By the way, we do a lot with youth, and I’ve already got our new neighbor kids in the building and they haven’t even moved in yet.


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There have been a number of comments lately that show the uncompassionate, unloving, unkind, harsh, hard hearts of those writing them.  I suppose we all have our moments, but as new creations in Christ, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Not only that, but we are to love each other as Christ loved us.  Those recent comments, my current situation, and Rambo have all come together to open up my heart.

Being in the middle of a high impact natural disaster (I live in a small town on the Mississippi river that will flood most of the buildins on Main St. by next week), I’ve been thinking a lot about questions like the above.  After the second day of sandbagging, I finally had to quit early and so I got some time to finally watch Rambo (the new one) which we’ve had from Netflix for days.  I was surprised at how intensely the film dealt with similar issues and questions I have been thinking on. 

I was surprised to very quickly learn that this Rambo wasn’t really about John Rambo, is about the suffering of the people of Burma.  Stalone often likes to say something meaningful in his films, and for this one he found out about the awful situation (pre-natural disaster, so you can imagine how much worse it is now) of the Burmese under the rule of the military.  Of course, there’s lots of gory action, but I’d still recommend any adult to see it, partly because the gore is not out of place.  In fact, you’ll find some tame pictures on the sites listed below that provide the evidence for the brutatlity visualized for you in Rambo. 

The most convicting part of the film was the dedication to action of the Christians in the film.  One thing that gets me, both locally for our flood, and globally for situations like Burma, is how churches and christians can sit around and do nothing yet people who do not know the grace of God through Jesus Christ do everything from helping to fill sandbags to save a few homes to struggling for the lives of people half a world away.

If we don’t do what we are taught in scripture, does it have any value for our lives?  What does it take for us to love our neighbors?

Father, forgive us for walking on the other side of the street pretending not to see the need of our neighbor.  Create in us a heart of compassion.  Use us in your work to transform us into little Christs.

Watch the movie if you haven’t seen it yet.  In the mean time, check out these websites:

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