Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Thoughts on Our Neighbors

There is a popular verse in the bible (as it should be, being the second greatest commandment) which surfaces in several areas of the bible, one area of which is Matthew 22:36-40.

"Love your neighbor as yourself."

Other variations would include "Treat your neighbor as you want to be treated".

I think as time has changed, our culture has changed, and our idea of how to walk this out has become warped at times. It depends on the person and the time and the situation, but I do believe it can be easily misunderstood.

The reality is, though, that not every person was made the same way and not every person has the same preference. To treat the world as if your preferences are the only preferences that exist seems silly, doesn't it? It does to me, but I think that we as a culture often do this.

Not everyone appreciates brutal honesty. Not everyone is as direct as you are. You think brutal honesty and directness is best? Well, that's because that's your personality. Not everyone shares this view. Some people don't mind if you are a complete stranger and you tell them exactly what they are doing wrong and how to fix it. I'd say that in my experience it seems to be a very small percentage of people though.

Really, though, if you guys don't mind me re-wording this today for our culture, I'd say, "Love your neighbor how they want to be loved" or "Treat your neighbor how they want to be treated." That's what love is anyways, isn't it? Fulfilling something within that person?

I won't go buy my wife Jenny an awesome new computer game for her birthday or our anniversary or on Mother's Day because to her, that's like a cruel joke. I would love to get a game though! I should treat her just like I want to be treated! Well, I don't think that's the point of the verse. Treating others how we want to be treated isn't completely accurate.

Did someone post a blog that you didn't like or did they post a note on Facebook that you think is totally wrong, and it needs to be corrected NOW? Maybe at times, but consider how they feel. Don't assume that they want to hear the brutal, direct, honest, truth no matter what the cost, even if that's what you prefer. There are other personalities out there.

Take time to know the people around you. Do you want them to be happy? Do you want to share your opinions with them? Do so in a way that is loving to their personality, not yours.

Of course, this is only one facet of verse 39, but I think it's a very important aspect of loving our neighbors.

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