Love your Neighbor
America has taken a beating this fall. From Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to the shootings in Las Vegas and wild-fires in California, many people have suffered. These disasters are horrible and they have negative impacts on the lives of many. However, they are also an opportunity to see a sense of love and community in action, and in many cases they bring people closer. A couple weeks ago, I decided to devote a week to hurricane disaster recovery in Houston. I worked through an organization called Samaritan’s Purse. We removed debris, insulation and mold covered drywall from numerous homes in Houston. The circumstances are sad. Many people are living in their homes surrounded by mold covered clothing and furniture, waiting for FEMA to assess their belongings before disposing of them.
While the circumstances were sad, the love, dedication and sacrifice on display was inspiring. I saw people leave their families, their jobs, their dry and safe homes in Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina and Washington and, of course, Texas, to subject themselves to mold, raw sewage, humidity and hard work. Why do they do this? So they could wrap their loving arms around the suffering people in Houston.
I observed neighbors in the hurricane stricken neighborhoods offering help and supplies even while they were suffering themselves. At many of the homes where we worked, neighbors would come out to offer bottled water, access to electricity and running water……..neighbors helping neighbors. I contend that this may not have occurred in the absence of a disaster. Back here, in Illinois, have everything we need in our homes…….food, clothing, entertainment, heating and AC. While the comforts of home are nice, it keeps us from relying on our neighbors and connecting with our neighbors. Why wait for something bad to happen? Bake cookies for your neighbor, invite them over for dinner, ask if you can borrow an egg, or cut their grass while they are on vacation. This is how we build communities and relationships. We should not have to wait for a disaster to share our love.
“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you do. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity