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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? 3...who does his neighbor no wrong Psalm 15:1,3 NIV

At first glance, this one may appear to be an easy one. You let out a sigh of relief as you think to yourself, "I've never really done anything to harm my neighbor. We live at peace and treat each other pretty well."

I could talk about a whole lot of things today in regards to how we treat our neighbors (understand here that neighbor means more than just the people that live on either side of you. Jesus made it clear that our neighbors were everyone who came in contact with us). We could talk about how we gossip (see yesterday's blog and quit whining about it). We could talk about jealousy or greed (you know you like that new car they are driving or the hot tub on their deck). Any one of these could fall into the category of doing our neighbor wrong. No, you don't physically harm them but any of these behaviors would definitely fall into the category of "doing them wrong."

Here is the thought that hit me as I re-read that verse this morning. What is the greatest wrong that I could do to my neighbor? I thought about the ones that I listed above--even the physical harm. Then, this thought struck me. Isn't it true that the greatest harm that I could bring to my neighbor would not be physical or emotional or financial? Wouldn't the greatest harm be...eternal?

Let me use an illustration to stir your thoughts. Suppose I drove home today to find that my neighbor's house was on fire. Worse than that, he was still upstairs in the house trapped by the flames crackling all around him. As I emerge from my car, I see my neighbor hanging from his upstairs window asking for help, struggling desperately for some way to escape the danger. I shrug, ask him how his day is going, how his wife is feeling today and, if he happens to escape to live another day, if he wants to come and watch the ball game on Saturday. All the while, I neglect to mention the ladder that is leaning in my garage. The one thing he needs is the one thing I don't talk about. I think we could agree that I would have done him wrong.

And, yet, we do. We do all our neighbors wrong when we fail to talk with them about the one thing that really is important. We will gladly talk about our hobbies, our careers, our families or current events. All of these are well and good as you work to establish a relationship with those that God puts in your path. But, if your relationship never opens the door to safety--if you never take the time to share with him the very thing that you know he is looking for--haven't you wronged him?

If you are a Christ follower today, in your heart there is an answer to an age old problem--what is my life all about? Though many would not admit it, people all around you are looking for answers to that perplexing question. Does my life matter? If so, for what? And how do I find what it is that I live for?

You know. And to keep it a secret or deny that you have it is to wrong your neighbor. It is to deny them the very thing that could save them from a life of fruitless searching, desperation and eternal endangerment. The best gift you could offer your neighbors this Christmas would be to open your "garage" and let them know where your peace comes from. A truly "blameless" life is one that cares enough to go that extra mile.

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