One collective action would bring instant and lasting world peace and prosperity, yet it’s been impossible to achieve in all of human history: Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it. All the wars, all the blood, all the sorrow and anguish would be erased with this continuous attitude and action. Attempting to figure out why we can’t do it is a tedious exercise best left for moments of deep reflection. We are only able to control first what we do in our own lives, and secondly, how we influence those around us.
A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.
Richard Whately, British Theologian 1787-1863
So what does loving our neighbor look like? My three closest neighbors are Russian, Cuban and Chinese. Am I to learn three different languages so I can more effectively connect? Should they learn some Waylon Jennings tunes to better interact with this Southerner? Maybe we should start a softball team and call our team the United Nations. All of those things are positive, but they aren’t the point. Loving our neighbor goes far beyond peering over the fence. To love our neighbor means to serve our communities so that we are giving back what we receive. A continuous flow of goodwill and peaceful intent. What are some of the ways we can truly love our neighbor? Let’s take a look.
1. Be Generous
There are many things we can give away and all but one of them are free. Our time, talents, kindness, compassion, joy, and prayers are all free-flowing things meant not for hoarding but continuous sharing. We should be generous with our material wealth as well, even when it is small.
2. Be Ethical
If a man gains the whole world but loses his soul, what has he gained? Many men will lie, cheat, beg, steal or borrow in order to gain more. Most of the conflicts in history have their roots in this trap. To be a man of high ethics, it requires a willingness to sacrifice personal material gain when that type of success crosses the lines of morals and human dignity. Set high standards and stay true to them.
3. Be Fair
Judge all things and people honestly. We aren’t to show partiality to a poor man just because of his station, but the same applies to a rich man as well. Only a person’s character should determine what judgment we render. Be fair in all that we do.
4. Be Kind
Sometimes one of the most difficult things to do in life is to smile. We are surrounded by a world filled with hate, bitterness, jealousy, envy, and violence, and we are to smile about it? The kindness that transfers to another when we genuinely smile at them has tremendous influence. Kindness and compassion are two of the most powerful weapons. Use them daily.
5. Be Peaceful
We’ve all held grudges, we’ve all held anger inside of us. We may have even plotted revenge at one point or another in life. All of those things exude negativity and create ongoing conflict. Forgive. Let it go. Daily, I get on my knees in prayer and, in doing so, I not only ask that I’m forgiven for the things I’ve done, but I pledge to forgive those who have done harm to me. My life is not trouble free by any means, but my soul is at peace.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with some close friends and come up with ways to help your community