Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spread the Love Around

We’re told to love others as we love ourselves, but you may find that loving your neighbor isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve always liked your neighbors, but then one summer the Carlsons move in next door. From the noise blaring from their house, you figure they have at least a dozen kids and six dogs. It turns out to be only five small children and two dogs, but you think it’s still too many. Your bedroom windows overlook the Carlson house, and you hate having your windows open now. You no longer hear the breeze blowing through the pines or meadowlarks chirping. Instead, noise and commotion—kids yelling and dogs barking—blast from the house next door till long after you go to bed. Loving these new neighbors will take a lot of work, you decide.

First, you need a change of heart. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV) Over the next week, you work out a strategy. Twice you offer to baby-sit the kids, you accompany the older ones to the neighborhood pool, and you take them all to your church’s Vacation Bible School for a week. Through these acts of service, you actually grow to enjoy your new neighbors. Do you suppose that was God’s plan all along?

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