Love your Neighbor
How do you respond when people are negative? Or when people are saying things about you that just aren’t true?
I used to have a neighbor that just didn’t like us very much. To this day, I am really not sure why they had such a negative attitude about me and my family. Through the midst of those years, they seemed offended bby us, and let me tell you, I couldn't figure out why? I wish I could tell you that I responded in a godly way every time, but I didn’t.
One year, we had a huge wind storm and a huge tree fell, knocking down the fence in our backyard which separated our two properties. Suddenly, it was like we were sharing a yard. It seemed like an opportunity from God to bless them. So I walked over to their house and knocked on the door. When they answered, I said, “I am so sorry the fence went down. I would love and opportunity to rebuild it for you and we’ll put in a new fence.” I will never forget the look on their faces. They seemed shocked to see me standing at their door. The man said, “Ok. If you’ll do the work, I’ll pay for the materials.”
Just that action of me walking to their front door changed things between us. It was like the wall between us had fallen, just like the wall between our properties had fallen. I rebuilt the fence just the way it was, and they paid for all of the materials. And it seemed to changed our relationship, not because of the things they had done, but because of the wall, I had built in my heart. Do you have any walls constructed between you and someone you think is your enemy?
“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.” (Luke 6:35-36, MSG)
Something happens when you begin to move toward someone who you thins is an enemy. Why? Because that’s exactly what God the Father did for us. God loved us and sent His Son to die for us when we were the bad neighbor to heaven. Jesus knocked the fence down when He went to the cross, so our relationship with Him could be restored. Most of the time, God is working to change our hearts towards those we think of as our enemies because He wants them to know His love too!
Here are a few ways you can be kind as the Father is kind.
- Seek to understand why that person is coming at you the way they are. Maybe they are coming to you because God wants you to be an answer for them.
- Don’t demonize someone just because they disagree with you. You will never be able to have a relationship and be kind like God is kind to you if you dismiss them.
- Begin to pray for God to bless their life.
- Be generous with them, the same way God has been generous to you. Offer to rebuild a fence, bring them a pie, say hello and see what God might do.
We are never more like Jesus than when we love others the same way He loves us!
Praying for you beloved one.
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Published on October 3, 2019.