"Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor." Proverbs 14:21 ESV
"Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner. "A timely scripture for a difficult time in our country. We might not think that we despise anyone, but a closer examination of our own hearts might be appropriate here. It is a sin to despise your neighbor. Be assured that this scripture includes, but is not limited to those who live nearby your residence. So perhaps particularly in this time, you might be asking for further clarification with a question. Who is my neighbor?
Who is my neighbor? In Luke chapter 10, Jesus was asked the same question. He went on to tell the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. It is important to understand the context. Samaritans and Jews were even further apart than conservatives and liberals. The division between them went back centuries and was deep seated. In that context Jesus tells the story of compassion and care. Looking beyond ideological differences and seeing people as people, made in the image of God. It was time then, and time now, to show people the love of Christ in spite of our differences.
But what if their opinions are different than mine? Love them anyway. What if they are from a different culture? Love them anyway. And what if they are a part of a political movement that I despise? Love them anyway. Our prayer should be to see people the way that God sees them.
Who lives near you, who works around you, who is your neighbor? Are any of them irritable, difficult, opinionated? Don't let the enemy get a hold of your heart, where you start to despise them. It is a sin. And for those that are poor, be generous to them with your time, talent and treasures.
This week, love your neighbors and be generous to the poor.
In His Hands,