The tragedy in Houston and other nearby areas hit hard by Tropical Storm Harvey occupies me no matter what I am doing or where I am. I could weep but that only relieves some of my emotion. It does not intercede for the thousands and thousands of people caught in this huge disaster.
Reports and photos of people risking lives to rescue those stranded and threatened by rising water soothes and causes me to praise and pray even harder. Considering the tough, horrible weeks ahead for those impacted by this torrential rain causes my very heart to wince.
The help needed in Houston and surrounding areas will not end with the better weather. The needs there must be remembered when this calamity no longer claims headlines and major coverage by the media. We must not forget our neighbors for all of us are neighbors. You do not need to live on the same street or in the same community to be a neighbor. God’s view of neighbors and neighborhoods is vast.
Something exciting and comforting at the same time happens when we reach out to help someone in need. I know that there are individuals who do not experience this, who will not echo agreement with me or for my strong belief in this. However, at 77 this truth runs through my heart and my mind. It sings a song in my soul.
And most of us delight in the simple pleasure of giving to a friend, a loved one, be it sharing extra food or arranging to have a gift shipped to a grandchild. I did that this week but will save that story for another post.
Let’s consider the Godly command to love your neighbor as yourself. My mom had no trouble helping neighbors but she and I had words one evening about the idea of loving herself. That Scripture bumped up against all those words from parents and other adults spoken to children, advising them to not be selfish or self-centered.
Think about the phrase love your neighbor as yourself. If you have shoddy, selfish, self-centered love for yourself, your neighbor won’t receive Christ like love. It has to start with you.
If you limit your view of who your neighbor is, you won’t experience anguish over the homeless refugees living in tents in faraway countries. They too are your neighbors.
What about those people whose political views oppose yours? Or people with lifestyles that offend you personally? What about the next door neighbor who is over friendly and intrusive or stand offish and difficult?
Most people in America, maybe in the world, consider those caught in the wild weather of Hurricane Harvey would agree that as many as possible should offer a helping hand to the victims of this storm, be that a hand with a financial donation, a hand to help rebuild or hands folded in prayer.
But will we sustain that love of those neighbors? Will we send another donation, small or large, weeks from now when help will likely be most needed? We will still have them on our daily prayer list?
I pray that we do not forget those in dire need struggling today in Texas or anywhere this storm brings damage into people’s lives. I pray that we come together more as a nation and less as individuals shouting their opinions as if they were writing a new form of scripture, not God given. Read verse 15 in the Scripture below. There’s been a lot of biting and devouring one another in this nation recently and the media loves to cover that. Is that who we really are in the USA?
I pray people who are believers take time to think about who God considers your neighbor. Note that God does not give us a description of neighbors, only a command repeated in various ways in a variety of books in the Bible. Ponder the verses below. Know I treasure those who read my posts and I pray for myself to be wise in what I write. I pray for my readers. I pray I give God the glory. None of this is about me, not really.
I’ll be back tomorrow, God willing.
13For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:13-15