In A Nutshell | July 9, 2021

Even After All These Years, Some Things Still Surprise Us

When we get to a certain age, like me for example, we tend to think that we have “seen it all” and that “nothing surprises us” anymore. Some people go so far as to think that they “know it all.”

Clearly, we know better than that. We certainly have not seen it all, many things still surprise us, and we definitely don’t know it all.

In some respects, the older we get, the more surprised and even shocked we are at the things that happen in everyday life.

What has bothered me most in recent years is the growing incivility we are showing to one another. Not only are we not getting closer to God’s primary command to “love our neighbor,” we are actually drifting further away from it.

Gun violence, road rage, and mass shootings are the most dramatic examples of this incivility, but it exists at a more subtle level across our nation, throughout our community, and sometimes even in our home.

I realize this is a downer of a message on a Friday, but it is only part of the story. The good news is that there is hope for a much better world if we simply adhere to the Word of God and follow His commandments.

As I have said many times, tolerating one’s neighbor, much less loving them, is not an easy task. In fact, it can often be incredibly difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible. But, if we have faith in the God we serve, and if we choose to follow his guidance, we truly can change the world, and I believe it must begin with us.

Although the church is far from perfect, I believe that devout worship, earnest prayer, genuine fellowship, and serious discipline will lead us closer to God, and, in turn, closer to our neighbor.

For this to happen, however, we can’t wait for our neighbor to make the first move. We must be like the Good Samaritan and choose to “cross the road,” even when it does not seem prudent to do so. It’s really our only chance for survival. We simply cannot continue to insult, attack, and even kill one another.

I understand that many of us have become so discouraged that we have just about given up on loving our neighbor. We seem resigned to the fact that it appears to be a lost cause. He or she is just going to slam the door in our face anyway, or so we think. But maybe not. Maybe a conciliatory gesture to our neighbor will be matched by a softening of their heart through the intercession of our Lord.

Remember the uplifting passage from Philippians 4:13: “[we] can do all things through Christ, who strengthens [us].” Clearly, we can’t do it all on our own, but through Him, everything is possible.

Even if we decide not to do it for ourselves, let us do it for our children. They deserve better, and if they see us reach out to our neighbor, perhaps they will be inclined and even inspired to do likewise.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

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