Who is Your Neighbor?
In the television show, Gold Rush, Parker visited a remote area in South America looking for gold. During his adventure he encountered disadvantaged families who use mercury to recover small pieces of gold from soil and ore. It is really cool to watch how mercury and the gold combines together, making it possible for the South American miners to retrieve the smallest traces of gold in the soil.
However, Parker’s teams knew using mercury exposes the miners’ families and children to toxic chemicals. The team’s horrified facial expressions and the distance they kept gives you a hint of their inner struggles. They looked on with painful expressions as South American children gathered close to toxic fumes while watching this scientific marvel. According to the World Health Organization, even a small trace of mercury can cause serious health issues.
So is Parker’s team morally responsible to take action when they encounter people who are still using this gold mining practice?
I was thinking about this as I picked up my bible to see what God says about being a good neighbor.
What does it mean to be a good neighbor?
1. A good neighbor always tells the truth in support of their neighbor.
In Exodus 20:16 we are warned against lying against our neighbor.
- What if Parker’s team remains silent instead of voicing their knowledge when the South American families could use support?
3. A good neighbor takes care of others’ items left in their care.
If someone’s child is staying at your home, then you would extend hospitality just like you would to your own children. We are careful to protect other’s money, vehicles, and smaller items of personal property. If we offer such care to these items, then don’t children deserve our care too?
4. A good neighbor who finds “lost property” will return it to the owner.
When I google “finding large sums of money,” a whole page of the legal ramifications are brought up instantly. However when I search who has found large sums of money and returned it, the findings are fewer. However, Bridgid Murray, a house keeper for a Detroit hotel found $11,000 and returned it to the owners. Imagine the joy of the senior couple when they were reunited with their lost possession! I bet they had feared nobody would return it. You may view the Youtube news clip here.
While young children often chant, “finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers” as they skip away with their newly found treasure, God considers deceiving a neighbor as being unfaithful to the Lord. Leviticus 6:4 explains that found property must be given back and many times in the bible the owner is actually given more than the value of the items from the guilty partner. Thieves are required to pay back double.
But sometimes, middle-school children don’t even consider an action as wrong because they reason that the owner will be able to receive compensation from the insurance company. Hmmm…Where did they come up with this idea? Remember our children are watching. But what are we teaching?
5. A good neighbor forgives.
In Leviticus 19:18 we are instructed not to seek revenge or bear a grudge. Christ taught us to forgive other and to be merciful to others. If we are merciful, then we will receive mercy.
But don’t think that wicked people are getting away with everything forever, the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict the world of guilt in regard to sin (John 16:8 NIV) and all must appear before the judgement seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). So pray for them, that they may turn before it is too late.
6. A good neighbor protects a neighbor’s life (Leviticus 19:16 NIV).
Bp. S.S. Harris, in the sermon, My Neighbor, explained that the beginning of society was built upon the bond between neighbors. It was intimate and in the eye of the law one neighbor could be held responsible for the well-being of others. There are many examples of this in our society today:
- A law enforcement officer is sworn to protect the life of others.
- Medics in the military risk their lives to carry others to safety.
- Even teachers are held responsible for a student’s physical and mental well-being
But does loving our neighbor include protecting their spiritual well-being and eternal destiny?
Who is the neighbor God has you here to serve?
You may have heard the phrase, “Blood is thicker than water.” It may mean that we care more for those we love than for others. For example, we may pray earnestly for our own children to be saved from dangerous threats. But what about all the other children in the world?
D. Jackson wrote in his sermon, Love to the Neighbor, that “neighbor” had a narrow meaning before Christ. However, Jesus expanded upon the meaning of neighbor to include the vast family of mankind.
Loving our neighbor includes:
- Building orphanages
- Gathering little children into schools
- Giving bread to the hungry
- Covering the naked with clothes
- Bringing the message of Christ to prisoners
- Setting free those held in bondage
How will we know if we are successful?
In James 2:8 NIV it states if you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself, ” you are doing right.
So, how do we love ourselves? We love to pamper ourselves with manicures, pedicures, and massages. We indulge ourselves with hot showers, long walks on the beach, and warm chocolate chip cookies. We love to amuse ourselves with books, movies, and television.
We even seek spiritual growth for ourselves, but how are we extending love to our neighbors?
Consider how you may help:
For $38 a month one child can be provided with the following:
- an opportunity to attend or stay in school
- medical care, which often saves lives
- nourishing food
- mentoring and a safe environment through a local evangelical church
- and most important, opportunities to hear the gospel
So, we all have the opportunity to be a good neighbor. To resist the desire that builds up in our minds to save money for a cruise or Spa Day, but to set aside some money for the children’s care.
Compassion International works through partnerships with local churches in 25 countries around the world to give children a strong opportunity to overcome poverty.
If you would like to learn more, please visit Compassion International to find children who are waiting for a sponsor.
I appreciate you using the link above to find out more about Compassion International because it actually increases my chances that I may win a trip to visit my own Compassion child. So, Thanks So much for blessing a child with their very own sponsor!
Compassion International also has a fundraiser for Malaria Intervention. It is hard to imagine that Malaria kills a child every 30 seconds. But if you donate $18, then one child can have a mosquito net and treatment that may save their life!
May I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, I praise you Lord because you are a compassionate and caring Father. I thank you for providing food, medical care, and safety to my own children as they grew up. I ask you Father to work in the hearts of the people reading to spur them to action to care for children within their circle of influence whether it be at Compassion International or within their own community. May the children of the world receive what they need to overcome physical and spiritual poverty. In Jesus name, I pray Amen.
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Every month you will receive a resource that helps you share Christs’ Love. For the month of April, you will receive the poem, “I Am the Way, The Truth, and The Life” which describes Jesus. You can send it electronically or you can print it out so that you give it to others. A picture can be viewed below, but join the email list to receive the downloadable link.