Love Your Crazy Neighbor (As You Love Your Crazy Self)

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Love God and your neighbor.  God’s easier to love.  He doesn’t mind if my friends park in front of His house, He’s never criticized me for having eight children, nor has He ever complained about the dandelion on my lawn (I think He likes them).  But my neighbors are another story.  I used to go out of my way to get out of their way.  Then one day, I realized how unhappy I must make them.  I mean, they don’t know Jesus- so this place is the closest they will get to heaven, and we’ve sort of ruined that for them.  I started studying their lives and realized they are like the guy in the Bible who had been stripped, beaten and left for dead- life does that, y’know.  Here they are, in need of First Aid, and I have a whole doctor bag full of healing things given by the Great Physician- the balm of kindness, for starters.  I owe them.  I have been given so much underserved grace, and yet here I am, parceling out no more than what others deserve, based on my faulty assessment.  God doesn’t ask me to heal, but to feel- to have compassion on those who focus on things like dandelions and parked cars because those are the only things they can seemingly control in an out-of-control world.  It’s been an interesting road with these neighbors- including a trip to the city council, and I’d like to say things got better, but they didn’t really.  Until last week.  Our house is sold and we are packing.  Two of our most unhappy neighbors came on separate days to say good-bye.  The first, with tears, apologized for himself and the neighborhood for “causing us so much trouble,” the second came and hugged me long and hard and said to us, “Thank you for being kind. You’ve taught us a lot.  I think we can be good neighbors now.” Wow. We’re so grateful for this, and told them so.  Now we can move on, knowing God who “began a good work, will carry it on to completion.” 

Lord, you went to the cross for those I cross the street to avoid.  Forgive me and give me a heart that yields when You say to me, “look after this one, and when I return I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” Luke 10:35

 

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