“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due. When it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,’ when you have it with you. Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety’s sake. Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm. Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; for the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but his secret counsel is with the upright. The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just. Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble. The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools.” (Proverbs 3:27-35)
It’s been said that a wise man will inherit glory, while the fool a legacy of shame. There are so many times that we, Christians, have the opportunity to be wise, to help out a person in need. But shamefully so, more times than not, we pretend ignorance or withhold our abundance while our neighbor goes hungry or naked. We prolong the act of giving our aid to those we could bless without even putting a dent into our perfect lifestyles. We contemplate life and our decisions because we don’t know how to “define” who our neighbor is. We get lost in the twisted structure of society. “If you mind your own business, I’ll mind mine”: that’s the course we have taken. Looking out for your own needs means kicking everyone else to the curb.
But why? Maybe because we live our lives envious of people. People who, if we sat down and listened to their struggles, we would never want to be. People can look so good to the outward eye, but inwardly they may be suffering and contemplating their existences more than we could guess. Truthfully, we don’t want their ways. We are only envious of people for the things that we see, not what comes in the quiet of night when the lights are out and only the restless stir. Jealousy is Satan’s bitter tool, but it so often rules us. However, the Bible tells us that when we scorn, we will be scorned. If we do things in secret behind closed doors, our wicked actions will be cursed by the Lord. How do we expect the Good Lord to bless us, when we do nothing for our neighbor?
We were bought at a price; one we can never repay. But why does the magnitude of His eternal gift make us so forgetful? We follow Christ’s teachings when it is easy for us. If our lives will still be comfortable, we might consider a small donation to the church, local Christian school, or maybe even a national Christian ministry. We have so much more than we need and we give so much less than we should. For having the greatest gift given to us, most often we give nothing back in return.
But Christ saved us from the trenches of our sins when we were naked, afraid, lost, and hurting. Even for those of us who know the magnitude of what Christ has done, we seem to lose sight of God and His gift as we step back into our daily cycles.
It is like we step into a revolving door. It goes nowhere, but spins in circles. Our problem is that even as we are going in circles, we can see one another through the glass. We see the pain and struggles, and we are made aware of the space between us. But this space—this barrier—is really just a thin layer of glass around the heart of another soul. A soul whose heart might sing, breaking the glass, if they were to be told the Good News of Christ.
It is our job, then, to give freely as part of our witness to others. We can never know how many lives might be touched if we were to courageously share His message. We need to lose the fear of discomfort and the constraints of jealousy that hold us down. If we call on Him, God will give us the strength to break our chains and perhaps the chains of others. He is our strength and hope, so let us share with others the news of His unending love and mercy, which saves all who believe in Him.
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