Monday, December 19, 2011

Neighbor Handling 2 - 2. Understand that you neighbor has their own flaws.

Here is the second bit of advice for handling your neighbor. 2. Understand that you neighbor has their own flaws.

What does this mean? Well, sometimes your neighbor has flaws that seem very strange to you. Sometimes your neighbor will be tempted to do things that you yourself would never be tempted to do in a million years. Maybe it's a pettiness that you wouldn't engage in, or a lust that is strange and foreign to you, or coveting something that you'd never want in a million years.

The response when we can see things like this can be to say, "Well, I'd never." Sometimes when we say that, it's a bald faced lie -- but other times, it is true- our neighbor does things that we never would, that have no appeal to us. And the danger is this - when this truly happens, we can become disgusted.

Modern American culture loves to run on disgust - we love to take sins that we aren't tempted towards and put them on a wretched pedestal and be disgusted by them. There's only one problem - our disgust, our indignation hampers our ability to love and care and guide.

You were not put in your neighbor's life in order to be disgusted by them - you were placed there to serve them. When your neighbor does something that disgusts you, beat down that disgust. It's not that they are worse or more vile than you -- it's just that their flaws are different that yours. Same ballpark, just a different position.

When you beat down your disgust, you can empathize and guide. When you beat down your own feelings of shock, you will be able to guide. And you'll avoid condescension (which actually ends up pushing your neighbor away).

One of the things that is very useful in this regard is Matthew 5, where Christ explains the law. Are you disgusted by the murderer - well, if you hate someone, you too are a murderer. Are you disgusted by that friend and his "perversion" -- well, if you've looked with lust, you are just as guilty... doesn't matter whom you've looked on with lust.

As Jon Bon Jovi says - "It's all the same, only the names have change. Everyday it seems we're wasting away."

Sure, your neighbor has different flaws than you -- but you've got yours, and their flaws will try to eat at them just as yours will try to eat at you. Be not disgusted, but rather focus yourself and your neighbor upon Christ and His forgiveness, and pray for His strength for both of you that you both may stand in the face of your own trials.

No comments: