Your Neighbor As They Are

How many times have we heard something like this?

“When I was dating this guy, he was all sweet and charming and we got married and he is such a slob! His underwear is on the floor constantly and he leaves the dirty dishes in the sink? What happened to the man I married?

“She was so wonderful when we were dating, but I don’t see why she is such a nag all the time! She is just so finicky about every little thing! It’s driving me crazy!”

I think most couples have some kind of reality shock when they marry. Now granted, there are some behaviors that might change, but each person needs to realize that the key personality type of the person that they’ve married most likely has not changed and it is something that they will eventually get used to.

Tonight though, we need to talk about seeing our neighbor as he is. One mistake we often make in this area though is that we don’t get to see him as he is because we’re too busy thinking of him as we see him. We go to our neighbor with an idea of seeing him as we think he is and sometimes, that can cover us from seeing him as he is. (Also, by my neighbor, I do mean any other person.)

Why do you like the people that you like? Why do some of them drive you crazy? It is because of the way each person is. It has been said about family for instance, that our family members are people that chances are we could not stand if it weren’t for the fact that they are our family.

Do we really take time to see our neighbor as he is though? Or, do we instead see him as he is. Now granted, there are ways that we can work to change our neighbor, but are there some characteristics that we don’t always grasp? Do we know the reason why the neighbor does what he does? Even if it is wrong, we can get some insight into our neighbor and ourselves if we try to see where he is coming from.

Also, let us learn to see our neighbor as what he was meant to be. He was meant to be one who reflects God. I know many of my Calvinist friends will disagree, but I think it would benefit us greatly to see each person as someone Jesus Christ loves and died for and if we treat them as less, we demean the sacrifice of Christ.

Your neighbor is an important person. Some of them, you will spend eternity with. If you are going to spend eternity with them, ought you not to love them now since you will be doing so forever? You also don’t know who will or won’t repent and who has and hasn’t infallably. If that is the case, maybe you should just try to love everyone so you can be prepared for whoever you meet in eternity.

Your neighbor. May you see them as God sees them.

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