Reflections on Faith and Community
On this page, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. You can also find them on the church's YouTube Channel in the "Weekly Word" playlist. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
Neighborly vs. Neighbor
Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus used this line more than once throughout his ministry as a summary line for the “neighbor” laws in the Old Testament. We have come to know it as the golden rule. Do unto other as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor as yourself. It is a simple line, but what does it mean? Most of us take it to mean that when the opportunity presents itself, we are to treat others as we would a neighbor. In other words, we are to be neighborly, nice. If we do that, we feel we are living out the intent of Jesus’ statement, and we are right on one level. Part of the definition of the Greek word for neighbor used by the gospel writers is “any other person we chance to meet.” But that is a small part. The larger thrust of the word would define neighbor as “those who live close by.” It is here that we, in the modern world of technological relationships, find ourselves challenged the most.
In the time of Jesus, the great hurdle was to think beyond the local clan and see the stranger as a neighbor. Today, the great hurdle is to simply see our neighbor at all. Being a neighbor today means more than just being neighborly to everyone we chance to meet. Being a neighbor means seeing the street you actually live on as a mission field, not for potential converts or another number to add to the roles of the church, but a place where being a neighbor is the mission. I find it intriguing that my even saying it this way feels uncomfortable. Maybe that is a good thing. After all, I have found that, when it comes to spirituality, something that feels a little uncomfortable often means God is at work. That may just be the case here. May God make you uncomfortable enough to find a way to say hello to your actual neighbor.
Published on 01/25/2016 @ 10:36 PM CDT