Are you a neighbor?
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus instructed His disciples to do good to those who hate them. The Father gives rain to the just and the unjust; hence Jesus asked the disciples to follow suit by displaying love in action to become perfect as their Father in heaven. Perfection involves doing good, notwithstanding our religious allegiances, organizational affiliations, and personal preferences. It even transcends friendships, relatives, and relations, which was demonstrated by Jesus dying for us even when we were enemies of God. As someone said, recompensing evil for good is Satanic; repaying good for good is Human, but returning good for evil is Divine. God chose us to be His sons through Christ Jesus, even when we were sinners and estranged from Him. His selection is with a purpose, which includes becoming like Him in doing good to all men, especially to those of the same house of faith.
A neighbor provides not only moral but also material support to those in need. Words carry weight only when buttressed with commensurate deeds. Professing the goodness of a good God does not make one perfect, but doing good even to the haters and enemies will. The biggest malady faced by the church is institutionalization, which has made shepherds become brick makers as the children of Israel in Egypt ended up by the cunningness of Pharaoh. In place of caring for the sick and needy sheep, the focus shifted to constructing storage cities for strangers’ use. Time and effort to be used for keeping and rearing sheep got wasted in making buildings that were never used by Israelites. Satan still tries to alter our attention from the eternal to the temporal, resulting in we forsaking perfection of doing good to those in need.
A neighbor brings encouragement when life hits dire straits. Apostle Paul encouraged his fellow prisoners, Roman soldiers, and the ship’s crew, though they set sail against his advice, resulting in disaster and loss of craft itself. The tongue of the learned disciple will use it to speak timely words that are like apples of gold in settings of silver. Let us be a good Samaritan – a good neighbor in word and deed to those within our churches and those who know not Jesus Christ.
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