As I am studying about the building of a nonprofit organization, a question was posed. The question was “what value will my nonprofit organization uphold? Surely, immediately my thought was “love your neighbor, as you love yourself.” Yet, soon after I wrote that I wondered, well….how do you love your neighbor who does not love themselves? In my spirit, I heard with the fruit of the spirit.
We live in a desperate time where homelessness is rampant, drug addiction, alcoholism, depression with all manners of diagnoses attached. We live in a time where hope has been lost for many and some, even those close to us have checked out mentally, emotionally and physically. How as children of God do we help to restore, edify and lift up those who walk as the woman with the back issue in the Word of God. She was bent over.
Many of us go about our day, going here and there encountering all types of people and situations. As children of God, we know we live not only in a physical world but through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we inhabit a spiritual world now too. There is spiritual life in all of us, and we are amongst it no matter where we go or where we stand. It consists of good and of evil. Yet, there aren’t many of us who have the discernment to pick up on another’s need, cry or despair, or we do have it, but ignore it. Considering the condition of our hearts in this world we inhabit as of late, we simply don’t care.
The bible speaks clearly that in the last days man’s heart will grow cold towards God, so if man’s heart is cold towards God, who man cannot see, then surely it is frigid for our neighbor whom you do see. No one desires to carry another’s burden’s, even the church has placed restrictions on such love and giving. We have become ones who hoard God’s love for ourselves and place a fine line as to who we will share God’s love with.
Yet, let me zoom back into “how do you love a neighbor that does not love themselves?” By the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit gives us the power to distribute and inject love in so many ways. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Let’s focus on the last part of v.23, against such things, there is no law! This means we have the freedom to perform such acts as described in the “fruit of the spirit” Yet, as children of God and even those separated from God right now, who is walking in it? We know that we live in a lawless society, and let us not be fooled to think that even as children of God we can’t be a modern day Pharisee or Sadducee. Who were a law unto themselves, yet pretended to be clothed in the righteous law that God gave unto Moses in the wilderness. I can imagine if they lived today, they would claim the title as Christian, but the follower of Christ values would not be in them.
We often find ourselves in bewilderment, shaking our heads at the nightly news reports of murder and mayhem. Why are we bewildered? When Jesus, revealed the mysteries of heaven to us, He shared that such things would happen. Why? Because man is the law unto himself. We no longer desire to walk in the laws or commands of God, and therefore, the Word of God speaks that we devise all manners of evil. Such evil lies as well in the non-caring attitude towards our neighbors. By God’s design and by the love of Christ on the Cross, wasn’t only to deliver us from sin and restore our relationship to God, but to restore God’s creation back to its former self. We have been created in His likeness and in His image. This resounds to me every beautiful attribute of God that is within us that we have the power to share, distribute and inject into others,
His fruit of the spirit.
We were made to love, be hospitable, caring, endearing, compassionate, to sympatize and be empathetic to another’s need. I consider Peter, who came upon a man who was paralyzed, it says the man was a “beggar” and what he desired was coin. Though in Acts 3 you read that Peter, nor John could give this man silver or gold, they expressed that they “could give him what they had.” They had the power and life in their tongues to speak to that man’s condition and claim in Jesus name that he “walk.” And further it says, that Peter stretched out his right hand to help the man unto his feet, and the man walked. Peter, helped the man unto his feet.
At times, we may think that we have to love our neighbors with the money, we may even think ourselves that money resolves or can resolve all the issues in the world. Jesus proved through His disciples, whom He empowered that no such thing is true. The resolution was in the faith, the speaking of truth and power and then stretching out a hand to see God’s power manifested in the lifting up, literally of a man.
If God can do this for a man many thousands of years ago, how much more today through His command, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If we embraced the power that we have in prayer, (for I hope you caught that, if you have read Acts 3 that Peter and John met this man at the Temple gate called “Beautiful” as they were going in for prayer!) we would petition that the windows of heaven open up for us, and then by faith move towards the commission of love, waiting to see them walk again, as we love those who are beaten down, rejected, despised, alone, abandoned, hopeless, distraught, and lost in the emotions of despair. We can love that neighbor that can’t see the love to live, nor the hope to care, nor the desire to walk. We have the power to restore life, we have the means to rejuvenate a broken man, we have the power to breathe on dry bones. If Peter and John did it. Then we got this!