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“Love Your Neighbor…”

Ironically, the church we’re a part of is sometimes known for its unique views on how church money should be used. Historically, we have not supported the funding of organizations such as orphanages and schools, etc with the church treasury but have instead favored the work of individuals.
The more I learn about the havoc being wreaked by good-intentions: taking children from ill-equipped or problem families into foster care, the more I realize the greatest lack in our society is true community. We know crime rates significantly drop in neighborhoods where the neighbors know and speak with each other. We know many expectant moms would have considered parenting if they had had a support system. We know that poverty and poverty-related neglect is one of the main reasons both for adoption and removal of children from their homes.

What we need more than organizations incentivizing the removal of children are individuals, are all Christians, committing to reaching out to our neighbors and co-workers and communities and making real, lasting, meaningful friendships with those around us. I see this lack in my own life, but if we really did so, if we didn’t shy away from those who are broken and frustrating and at-risk and draining around us, how much could our communities be changed?
It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to do so. But there is no denying that this is the gospel call of every Christian. We see the negative side-effects of shirking this hard responsibility. Do you want to know how to help? We always aspire to do big things. Make big changes. And we tend to believe if it isn’t astronomical, it isn’t worth it. But it’s the little things which are necessary and which are overlooked. We all likely already know a person or two who is not well-off, whether emotionally, financially, or otherwise. If we have something to impart to them- wisdom, love, friendship, stability, monetary help or guidance- and if we have been blessed by God’s abundant grace in our own need, then that’s our call. There’s our opportunity. What will we do with it?

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:17, 18

“He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.” – Proverbs 21:13

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? – James 2:15, 16

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