He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy. Proverbs 14:21 (NIV)
Attitude And Action
What attitude will you have toward your neighbors? I’m not sure what you mean. Will you be kind to your neighbors or will you despise them? Why would I despise my neighbors? Sooner or later your neighbors will do something that you don’t like. Sooner or later your neighbors will do something that will make you uneasy or uncomfortable. They will cross a boundary. They will make a mistake. They will do something that you won’t appreciate. Your neighbors will never live up to your expectations. Are you surprised by what I am saying to you? No, not at all. There is a flip side to what I have said. What’s that? You will never live up to your neighbor’s expectations either. You will do something they don’t like. You will cross one of their boundaries. You will make them uneasy and uncomfortable. You will do something they won’t appreciate. Is this hard for you to imagine? No, not at all.
You will be faced with two decisions. What are they? You will be forced to decide your attitude toward your neighbors. Will you love or despise your neighbors? That is the question you must answer. There is a good and a bad time to answer that question. I don’t understand. It will be best to decide now if you will love or despise your neighbors before they disappoint you. Deciding to love your neighbors now will help you to love them when they don’t live up to your expectations. Now, I understand. What will it be? What is your decision? I will love my neighbors. Will you love your neighbors when they cross boundaries, make mistakes and fail to live up to your expectations? Yes Lord, I will love my neighbors regardless of their behavior. That is a good decision. Why are you making such a decision? I am following your example. I want to love like you love. That is very good.
You mentioned that I would be faced with two decisions. Yes, I did. What is the second decision I must make? You have already decided that you will love your neighbors. That is an attitude. Yes, it is. Your second decision will be to decide what action will you take toward your neighbors. What do you mean by that? Your neighbors will have needs. Will you ignore the needs of your neighbors? Will you let the needs of your neighbors go unmet? Will you meet the needs of your neighbors? I cannot say that I will have a loving attitude toward my neighbors if I am unwilling to take action to help meet their needs. Both my attitude and action must go together if I am to be truly loving. That’s true. Why are you making such a decision? I am following your example. I want to serve like you served. That is very good.
Your life will be richly blessed as you love your neighbors with both your attitude and action. That is what I want. That is what I will do. That will be very good.
Lord, I have not always gotten along well with all my neighbors. I have liked some and sinfully despised others. Forgive me. I want you to bless my life as I am kind to those in need. Help me to show love to all my neighbors by helping them with their needs. Amen
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