“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” (Romans 15:2 NIV)
If you don’t know how to help your neighbor, ask.
People are afraid to follow God because of what He will ask them to do. They don’t want to go to Africa and become missionaries. God only knows where a life lived following Him will take you. Maybe God will call you to Africa to serve, but more than likely He won’t.
What God does want you to do if you follow Him, is love your neighbor.
Love your neighbor.
Jesus left us with two tasks in the Great Commandment: Love God, love others. He didn’t say move to Africa. He said love the person sitting next to you. His command is simple. Start right where you are.
COVID has brought neighbors together. In a time where church services were completely shut down, people grew where they were planted. In my neighborhood, we check on each other regularly. When my elderly neighbor’s battery died in her car, we all helped get her back on the road. Check-in texts became a regular habit. We stopped taking each other for granted and hunkered down together to weather the storm. We loved the people sitting next to us. Our friendships deepened, our neighborhood thrived in the midst of chaos.
Just like in all relationships, we need to forgive our neighbor. Forgive them when they leave their trash can out for two days. Forgive them when their dog barks too loud, or their music is too high. Forgive them when they don’t say “Hello,” on the way in the door. Whatever offense they have committed, forgive them.
Neighbors are like family. You can pick your neighbors to a certain extent. But a lot of times, you can’t. We have to learn to love them. We have to accept the things that irritate us. We must find a way to live at peace with them:
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18 NIV)
Living at peace with our neighbors means something different to everyone. We promote peace when we get to know those living closest to us. Diverse neighbors lead to diverse friendships. We learn from each other. We look out for each other. We live at peace with each other, respecting boundaries. In doing so, we create a community where people want to live.
Loving God and loving our neighbors will grow your faith faster than any other way. You will begin to connect the dots of His presence in your lives. As you build up your neighbors, you will build your faith. You don’t have to go to Africa. You just have to love your neighbor.
Question of the Day:
What neighbor can you love today?
Further Reading:2 Chronicles 30-31 NIV, Romans 15:1-22 NIV, Psalm 25:1-15 NIV, Proverbs 20:13-15 NIV