When I was in my teen years, we had a large, bright yellow VW double cab. It was so very bright and peculiar, that our friends even gave it a nickname – the yellow submarine! When we would go to town as a family, we became very noticeable! Just picture it for a moment – a double cab Kombi in the brightest of yellows, fulled to the brim with many small children of different races. Keep in mind that we were probably the loudest, noisiest vehicle in the parking lot! We got a few interesting looks from people, believe me!
During our town visits, my parents would cram in as many errands as possible, while us kids would wait in the car. This usually took place over the lunch hour. My dad would buy bread and potato chips and then we would make sandwiches and eat, while we were waiting for our parents. The homeless people in town soon learnt to look out for us. When they noticed that we were eating, they would come over and ask for food. So usually it would be one sandwich for the kid, one sandwich for the hobo!
To be honest, it used to annoy me that the homeless people would target us as a family. Even when we were not eating lunch, they used to come and hang around the car and try to have a conversation with my brothers.
One day it reached a climax for me. A homeless, slightly drunken man, came to the window of the car, and asked me for money. I am ashamed to say I frowned at him and started to wind up my window. He looked at me, and I will never forget what he said,”I am not a dog, don’t look at me like a dog!”
Instantly I was convicted. He was just a person. He needed love just like I did.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Wow! That can mean the dirty, lonely, unwanted, unloved people of this world. The ones that are so often overlooked because we don’t want to be seen associating with them.
How do we show love to people like that? I know for certain that we can never do it in our own strength. Only if we learn to view them through God’s eyes, can we truly show them the kind of love that they deserve.
We have to start somewhere. It starts with a heart change. Taking the time to stop and smile, to say something encouraging, to give, to show love, even in the smallest of ways.
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10
Your neighbor may just be that wealthy man that drives past in his fancy Mercedes, or it might be your local homeless man, that is asking for a piece of bread. It might simply be your family, your siblings, your colleague at work – those people that are around us every day. Those people that we sometimes take for granted. We are all broken vessels in need of love. We are created to need love. God is love. We need to show His love to others. Demonstrating our human earthly love to other people can never compare to allowing God’s love to be demonstrated through us.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14