Monday, November 27, 2006

Galatians 6:2

Galatians 6:2-“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (NKJV)

In the context this verse is given, it speaks specifically to helping another Christian brother or sister bear their burdens of life. It also means to restore them from a sin (see verse 1 of the same chapter). It is one of the ultimate verses that speak to me of loving and caring for my neighbor.

Wait a second, though. Who, exactly, is my neighbor?

Hmm…that’s quite a conundrum, isn’t it? Now as Christians, we are very quick to pick and choose who our neighbors are, aren’t we? We want to pick nice ones, who will bring over cookies, and swap recipes with us. We want ones who will meet at the fence line over small talk.

We want ones who live by our golden rule: “If you don’t delve too deeply into my life, then I won’t delve into yours. We’ll just be superficial and shallow. And best of all, we won’t have to say or do anything that might be considered offensive or inflammatory.”

I mean, for goodness sake, we don’t want someone in our lives that will CHALLENGE us or ENCOURAGE us to evaluate ourselves daily. Do we? Do I?

I have a new neighbor. He’s a new friend. He just moved into my neighborhood. Actually, one of our mutual friends introduced me to him. She asked me to talk to him and love on him, because he really needed to see Christ’s love.

He’s different. He’s different than ALL of my other neighbors. He isn’t a clean cut Christian man like me. He smokes. He drinks. He is not someone you would normally associate with if you saw him.

But that’s because you have never met him. See, I don’t think I have ever seen God’s finger placed on someone’s heart so deeply and so tightly since…..well, since He touched me. (There are still some people in Oak Ridge who knew me BEFORE God touched me. You should talk to them about the old man. )

I mean this neighbor of mine, he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real and He is moving. But He has questions. And anger, and discontent, and rage, and all sorts of other negative things bottled up inside of him.

He needs a friend; a neighbor. And God had the trust to introduce him into MY life. This neighbor of mine is walking a razor edge in his life; and God trusts me to walk with him.

So, do I help him bear his burdens? Or do I insist that he get cleaned up and make himself presentable? Get his act together and come correct before I’ll talk to him about God?

Or, do I show God’s love and mercy to him, just like God did to me? Do I walk this thing out with him, and show him truth and grace wrapped in love and acceptance?

As my parents used to say to me and my siblings as we were growing up, “Remember your home training”. Don’t forget how you were raised up in this world.

My Father, God, raised me up to see that no one, NO ONE, is beyond needing Him. And no one, NO ONE, is too far beneath me to help. I am not good enough to look down my nose at ANYONE.

I was there for him last night. I’ll be there for him today. He knows that I won’t help him in anything wrong, or enable him in negative actions. But he is also learning that with trust comes acceptance. He is learning to trust me, so I need to continue to earn his trust.

Help me by praying that I will not do anything that will reproach the name of Christ. Pray that I will continue to be open and attentive to what God would have me say to him, and not what I would say. Pray that I will continue to have the opportunity to speak the truth of Christ into his life.

Help me bear this burden. And understand this; if you won’t help me, then God will find someone else who will. And you will lose a part in something so wondrous and magnificent to happen in a person’s life.

Bear this, so someone will bear yours with you. It might even be me.

Oh, and that new neighbor I have; he doesn’t live on my street. That doesn’t make a difference to you, does it?

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

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