If I had known Paul, we could have had a debate over being the “chief of sinners” just as easily as my son and his friends debate over who has the worst “battle wounds.” I think I would win by a landslide. I say this not boast my shortcomings, but to share how each day I grow closer to the Lord, He reveals more and more that needs to be chiseled out of my prone-to-wander heart.
Today was no different.
I was leaving my house with the kids to picnic at the Botanic Gardens, and a man walked by. I generally feel safe in my neighborhood, but after a recent break-in not too far from us, I have been a little more cautious. In the past, I’ve avoided this man, but now more than ever. He always made me feel a little uncomfortable by the creepy looks he would give me. After a brief encounter with him, my heart began to fear.
I began to pray, asking the Lord to remove my fear and protect my house. I rambled on and on, not allowing the Spirit to get a word in. When I finally finished talking, His Word resounded on my heart, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I interrupted, “Hold on, what? I’m asking for protection.”
“We love because He first loved us.”
And yet again, “Yes, I know, but…”
“For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he as seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
How the Word lives up to Itself–it cut deeper than a “two-edged sword.” I had justified apathy with my caution. How often we do that…justify our lack of love, compassion, or concern because of fear. I had been intentional about showing Jesus to another neighbor, but deliberately disregarded this man. I remembered many times that I just passed him hurriedly when he was drunk and alone on his driveway. I had not even given him a smile or felt any compassion for him. I had played favorites with my love. Praise Jesus that HE never does! He pulls the dirtiest of people up from the slimy pit, makes us into something beautiful, and regards us as His own.
The grateful are the best givers. The humble are the best servants. When we are overwhelmed with love, we are beckoned to pour it out. May you and I give much because we have received much!