Every single day, our lives are filled with opportunities to connect with others in meaningful ways. In times gone by, neighbors were friends who chatted over the backyard fence, played board games on Saturdays, mowed each other’s lawns, and borrowed sugar and eggs. Today we are surrounded by people all the time, yet we exist in a world where we share a mutual unspoken expectation to keep to ourselves. We have separated ourselves from our fellow humans into a world of isolation and superficial contact. Yet we are commanded to love our brother as ourselves.
What would happen if we defied that isolating expectation and began to notice those we interact with? What could happen if you looked the cashier at the grocery store in the eyes with a smile and asked, with genuine care, how his or her day was going?
God has hardwired us to need one another, to respond in kindness, and to crave community. Somewhere along the line, the church seems to have lost that concept, or at least the fullness of the concept. Paul says in Romans 12:4-5, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” We are to be as one. Yes, we are hardwired by God to crave community!
Look around. Who have you trained your eyes to ignore out of discomfort, or even because of things deemed too painful to consider? Those who are different from us (this may include those who are homeless, those who are prostituted, those with disabilities, or those from a different ethnic or socioeconomic background) are sometimes the ones we are most comfortable blinding ourselves to. Yet they are the ones most in need of being seen.
God has promised that His grace is sufficient. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) He has equipped us to see even those we may be afraid to notice. But they need you. And believe it or not, you need them.
Lord, open our eyes to see those you’ve called us to see today. Help us to step out of our comfort zone and look beyond ourselves. Help us to see your passionate love for others in such a way that we are compelled to love in the same way you have loved us.
“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald