Monday, June 9, 2008

Neighborly Love

There is an illustration about a man on a bus with 4 kids and his kids are running up and down the bus. They kids are acting horribly. They are disturbing all the other passengers on the bus. The passengers keep looking at the man, hoping that he will do something about the kids but he seems to just stare off into space. It finally got so bad with the kids that one of the people decided to talk to the man about the behavior of his kids. Come to find out, the man had just left the hospital where his wife had died and these kids just had to say goodbye to their mother. Everyone on the bus began to help the man and the kids instead of glare at them and wish they weren't on the bus. That is what happens to us when we enter others’ worlds instead of look at them from a distance and wonder what in the world they are doing.

This happened to me today. I had begun to get a bit self righteous over some of the parenting styles in the neighborhood. I wondered why their kids said this, watched that movie, or was able to roam the neighborhood unattended. We had talked to our boys about what was allowed to be said and my self righteous attitude obviously wore off on my kids. My oldest called a neighbor kid a pervert and told him to go home. He had just decided he didn't want to play with a kid like that.

I struggled for about an hour with this and prayed for most of it. I just didn't know what to do. I was proud of my son for standing up for what was right but not for the way he handled it (the self righteous attitude). So I knew that God was telling me to go over and talk to the neighbor. My heart was pounding as I walked over there. I wanted to share our concerns and let them know we loved them but we haven't known them long. It is never easy when we are talking about things are kids do, I know. We, as moms, become Mama Bears and ready to protect and defend.

God did the most amazing thing. As we were talking she began to share her struggles, how there were some hard things she was dealing with in her family. I began to have what God wants for me to have--a heart for her and what she is going through. I got to get down on my knees on her front porch and pray for her.

Today, instead of being the group on the bus watching and judging others, I entered her world, and hopefully, I showed her God's love for her and her family. I pray that I was a blessing to her and an encouragement.

I think so many times, we as the church are like the passengers on the bus. We sit and watch and wonder why the world acts like it does. We tell them how wrong they are, we watch from a distance, shaking our heads and don't ever enter in. I learned a valuable lesson today, one that I pray I won't soon forget.

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