Sometimes I need to give myself a good old-fashioned “talkin’ to” and you may as well eaves drop ’cause this is gonna be good.
I find it easy to talk about this or that virtue of being a Christian–“be kindly affectionate to one another…”, “in lowliness of mind, let each consider others better than himself…”, and that bit about how the whole sum of the gospel is found in loving God and your neighbor–until it comes down to the hard part of doing it with our closest neighbors.
That would be my husband and children.
We think the “love your neighbor” part sounds beautiful because we have no trouble smiling at the cashier–that neighbor who hasn’t rubbed against us all day–and calling that love. Or the friend who calls when we put on our sweetest voice and offer to go the extra mile without even a harrumph.
But do I love my real neighbors?
The ones who live with me? I don’t mean “Do I love them?”, of course I love them! Infinitely and intensely. Not “love” as an emotional state, but the Jesus-love of doing. Kneeling down and washing grimy, proverbial feet. Without any feeling of martyrdom.
Do I turn the other cheek and give more than is asked of me–gladly?
Do I speak those things which are edifying, building up and giving grace to those who hear it?
Do I extend the kindness of the Lord to my family each day? Painting for them the picture of Christ? (“We are His Body.”)
We are put in families, I believe, to learn the very gritty essence of why Christ died. We are put here to have our dross removed, to see our sin in all its fullness only to drive us deeper into our Savior’s love.
Here are our neighbors and here we get the chance to obey Him to our core, in our realness. And He gives us grace to do that every step.
I want to love my neighbors as myself. But it starts here if at all.
“He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater…”