Our need for God as Christians is as ever-present as our need to breathe oxygen. It reminds me of the old hymn I Need Thee Every Hour because we can never be whole and righteous here on earth. Our soul's cry is ever-constant to have Christ's blood covering of grace and forgiveness to protect us from an unjust enemy.
I recently finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. This book should light a fire under any coach potato Christian who accepts God's tremendous love but rarely returns it. I am particularly convicted of the need to love two sets of callous and unapproachable neighbors. As God would have it, they are unchurched and flabby at best in their spiritual walk with God as far as I can discern.
How can I love thee? Let me count the ways:
- Pray daily for my attitude and for their full salvation and discipleship in Christ.
- Promote love with random acts of kindness anonymously.
- Compliment them with sincerity of heart when possible.
- Thank them for keeping up their front yards (even if their back yards are a mess).
- Keep being friendly toward their pets and/or children.
- Invite them to church after our friendship is established.
- Give them cards and gifts at Christmas and Easter and expect nothing in return.
- Find out when they have birthdays and send a Christian greeting card.
- Above all else, let their meanness toward you not invoke a spirit of revenge or bitterness (that's your human sin nature crying out--so tell it to be quiet in Jesus' name).
Perhaps you have a similar situation in your neighborhood. Just remember, Jesus encountered no true welcome as the Messiah in his own home town, and neither should we expect to be liked by everyone. Be grateful for the neighbors who do believe in Jesus and are kind to you, but don't forget to love those who despise you. They need your love more than anyone.
Have a wonderful Independence Day and say a prayer for all those who have fought to keep our country free. Ask the Father to humble you into loving in new, outstanding, and courageous ways, as Francis Chan would say.