Being Neighborly

We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. For Christ did not please himself, but, as it is written, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15: 1-7 (NRSV)

April Bogert, from New York, had lived in her mobile home community for a year, but she was shy and had met few of her neighbors. One rainy afternoon, she looked across the street into her neighbor's driveway and saw that the headlights of one of his cars had been left on. Should she go over there, knock on the door, and tell him? She dithered, thinking that he may have intentionally left the lights on, he might be busy, or he could resent her intrusion. Yet she knew in her heart that she should tell him. She resolved that despite her timidity, she could do it with God's help. So she put on her coat and crossed the street to the stranger's home.

After a couple of knocks, the man came to the door. Feeling awkward, April blurted out, "Did you know your car lights are on?" To her surprise, he thanked her profusely. She hurried away feeling much better.

April had been struggling to discern God's guidance in several big decisions. Yet when she felt God's urging over this small matter, she resisted. She realized that if she makes excuses and gives in to her fears, she can't learn to trust God and discover what God wants her to do.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to trust you in all things, at all times, and to be open to your leading to help our neighbors, in Jesus' name, amen.

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