Which One Are You?
I saw this little graphic a few weeks ago, and thought I'd try and use it to encourage us to love others, and treat them the way we want to be treated.
Now you might see something that I missed, or arrive at a totally different conclusion from the picture, and I know, we have no idea of circumstances that may have led up to this picture being taken. I'm assuming the person on the left swept the snow off their own steps, and didn't lift a finger for their neighbor. I'm assuming they don't care, and are pretty self centered and/or lazy. Maybe no one lives in the house on the right, or maybe they told the nice person on the left to stay off their property. Who knows! But it does give us a visual illustration of something people ought never to see in us.
Seeing that helps us remind ourselves, we have a duty to be cordial or politely friendly. We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves, and we are commanded to treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated. So if we were the person living on the left, we'd expect ourselves to shovel all the steps!
Pause a moment and think of situations where it takes just a little extra effort, and the benefit to others is obvious. Holding a door for someone, being patient at the intersection, letting someone with only an item or two go ahead of us in the line at wallyworld, picking up trash in front of someone else's yard, raking a few extra leaves on the neighbor's lawn, and so on. At work or school, being courteous, patient and thoughtful of others and their needs. How often could we get a smile of appreciation for little or no extra effort? Do we look for such opportunities? We should!
Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12 record Jesus's teaching of what we have termed 'The Golden Rule'. Sometimes we interpret that teaching as it being merely reciprocal, or we treat others as they treat us, but that's not at all what it says. We also sometimes only apply that rule to family and friends, when it's convenient, if we are in a good mood, or if we think it will be returned to us in some way. But that's not what it says either!
The command is not to occasionally do some random act of kindness if we feel good. No, in fact, we are commanded to be kind in our daily walk of life, even to our enemies and those who persecute us (Matt 5:44). We know that's what it says, but is that what we do? Are we too busy to have an extra minute here and there? It is a tough task to love everyone at all times regardless of who they are and what they may do or not do with regards to us, but isn't that precisely what God does for us? Isn't that what He accomplishes through the Holy Spirit?
John wrote these words of Jesus, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Kindness expressed to others in both big and small ways, show others who we belong to, and within the church, is in fact our love on display. But whether our neighbor is a fellow Christian, or the town low-life, let us never be that person on the left!