Being A Good Neighbor Day 4 – The Neighborly Golden Rule
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, ESV)
“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31, ESV)
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:14, ESV)
It had been a particularly tough day, and I felt so over it. The stress of the situation lay heavy on my shoulders and chest, causing my breathing to become shallow and ragged. The confrontation had been difficult, emotionally draining me and leaving me weary and tired. Hiding out in my bed after a good cry was all I had on my mind for the evening ahead, until I got a simple text from a terrific “neighbor”: “I’ll be over after you get home. We will just chill. I’m bringing your favorite donuts, so save some calories for a few.”
“Company,” I whispered out loud. Maybe that’s just what I needed, even though I felt weary and sullen. The evening passed in pleasant conversation, soft pajamas, half-laughing and half-crying spells, a warm sour cream donut, and even periods of comfortable silence. Knowing that I don’t enjoy being alone at night, my visitor brought a pillow, blanket and her nighttime beauty supplies. As I crawled into bed, I felt lighter, happier, fuller, freer, more secure, and oh so loved. Why the change? Because someone lovingly treated me the way they likely wanted to be treated if the tables were turned.
When has someone gone out of the way to meet a need you had? How did it make you feel? It’s wonderful to receive the care of a neighbor; there’s nothing quite like it, don’t you agree? But how willing are you to be the one who helps the lonely, the brokenhearted, the sick, the emotionally wounded, the elderly, the insecure people in your own community? The proverbial Golden Rule is found right within the pages of God’s Word: treat others the way you want to be treated (“love your neighbor as yourself”). So when we see a need, chances are that if we respond to that need according to what we would wish in a similar circumstance, we are on the right path to loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Here’s a word to each of us when we are on the receiving end of a well-intentioned neighbor: Appreciate their effort and concern, no matter if their approach to supporting you matches your own personal style or desire. A generous giver may reach out to you with a thoughtful gift or a money transfer. A physical helper may come by and help you unpack boxes after a move. A technical thinker may help you set up your laptop and sync saved information for you seamlessly. A baker may pop over with a warm apple pie. A conversationalist may invite you for a coffee date and a word of advice. A listener may come sit beside you silently, offering company until you’re ready to share. Each person offers a different support style, love being the common motivator. Each is a terrific neighbor.
Look for ways to show the people in your community that you care for them. Look for ways to serve the ones in need. There are people all around us who are hurting, and oftentimes we have no clue. Connect with people on a deeper level and offer them a safe place to voice their thoughts, concerns and feelings. Jesus poured Himself into people and His motivation was always, always love. Jesus never gave to receive, and neither should we. Instead, may we be willing to give in a way we would wish to receive for ourselves—that is how to love a neighbor as yourself!