Monday, August 7, 2017

How to Love your Neighbor - Part 6

I thought after my last post, I was done talking about loving patiently. But as happens (with
seemingly more frequency these days), God led me differently. One more post, He said.

In all transparency, I thought it'd be two. I planned on writing the new posts all last week, but because of school planning (we've officially started our new school year today) and other ups and downs of life, it didn't happen. Then, as I was praying through, I realized there weren't two more posts needed, but one.

This is the verse that prompted one more post:

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way.
Numbers 21:4

I've heard the story of the Israelites dozens of times. Of their grumbling and complaining. Of their lack of staying faithful to praising the Lord for His deliverance. I'm not sure, however, this verse about their impatience has stood out before. This time, it did.

The people became impatient on their way. They wanted to reach their destination. They were ready to arrive. Even millenia before our fast food, information in an instant culture, people grew impatient with the journey.

I've been learning a lot about staying patient in the journey over the last two and a half years of building a house. (You can read a little more about that here.) I want to get to the destination. I'm ready to move into my house. But my house is not ready. And God has me on a journey. He desires to work in me on this journey. For my heart to be open to His work along the way, I must be patient.

God has us on a journey and desires to work on us as we're on our way to our desired destination. Click to Tweet

This is great! But how does it relate to loving our neighbor, you might ask. I'm glad you did!

Not only do we get impatient along the way of our journey, we get impatient with others on their journey. We want them to know what we know. Have the revelation we've had. Grow up. Become self-sufficient. Be self-motivated. (I hope you want these things! These are important goals, especially for us to have for our children. Our job is to love them and teach them to love the Lord as we help guide them on their journey to becoming adults.)

While many of these goals are on target, we often get impatient on the way. We get frustrated and yell (I can't be the only one, although I'm learning a great tool to defeat this negative habit. I will definitely share in a future post.) We take over and don't let them finish a task because we can do it quicker, and right. We don't show compassion and love as they struggle to learn, grow, and become the person God created them to be.

Being patient in the journey is essential to loving our neighbor well - whether our children, another family member, coworker, or geographical neighbor. To recognize that they, like we, are on a journey and they, like we, have not arrived at our final destination. That God is working in their lives (and maybe we need to pray that they'll be open to God's work!). That the journey, and the lessons learned on the way are important.

Being patient in the journey is essential to loving our neighbor. Click to Tweet

This will help us to love our neighbor well, with patience, right where they are. Just like God loves us - right where we are, on our journey to becoming more like Him.

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