As the flashing Ambulance lights filled the night sky, I quietly mumbled “I hope this doesn’t bother the neighbors.” That thought quickly vanished as my concerns refocused on my mother who was receiving EMT care in my living room.
The next day however, I revisited my thoughts concerning my neighbors. This time though, my thoughts were somewhat more cynical. “Why haven’t any of my neighbors stopped by to see if everything was ok?” I asked myself. Although they all know that my mother lives with us because she has been in ill health for a very long time, it is still a very uncommon occurrence that an ambulance would be in our driveway. It was at that very moment that the Holy Spirit brought me under such strong conviction that it felt like a hammer hitting my chest. “Why, you ask? Perhaps if you had been loving your neighbor as yourself, they would be as equally concerned about you.” WOW.
At first I offered a frail defense. “I have loved my neighbor…what about the time I helped them shovel out their snow, or the time I helped with their yard.” “One neighbor even gave me a special Best Neighbor magnet to put on my fridge.!” My protests quickly tapered off as I began to recognize their futility.
“Upon further review” (As the NFL referees say) I realized that the point of all of this spiritual anguish was this:
Love Your Neighbor is not a statement about feeling, it is an imperative that demands continued action.
In other words, do I ‘live out’ that love for my neighbor every day? What actions do I take to demonstrate that feeling…not once in a great while when there is a crisis, but living a lifestyle of love actions?
It is a work in progress, but as the new year unfolds it is my desire to show my neighbors the love of God, not just feel it or talk about it.
What are some things you can do to show your neighbors the love of Christ? Will you commit to take action?