Saturday, August 7, 2010

Who's your neighbor?

Hello. Welcome back to A Good Bible Study. Let's dive right in!

Father, we want to love what You love, and want what You want. Sometimes it is so hard to know when to help and when to wait; how much is too much, and how much is not enough. Help us to remember to ask You when we are unsure, to read enough of Your Word to know Your thoughts, and to have courage to step up when we are needed. In the name of Jesus, amen.

I'm so glad you have come back to the study today. I know this section has been difficult at times, because we are being challenged at some level to do what does not come naturally, most of the time, and that is to set aside our own plans and do something for someone else.

Does this mean never setting limits or boundaries; never getting rested; never being able to do something just for me? Absolutely not. We can't help anyone else if we exhaust ourselves. This is more about examining our motives for helping and overcoming our selfish nature more often.

Think about what your motives for helping others have been up to this point: has it been to look good and gain friends, serve some misguided notion that kindness is a prerequisite to God's love or to earn entrance into heaven, to show everyone what a giving, tread-upon kind soul you are . . .or is it to spread the love that God has shown you to someone else?

We are told at least eight times in the Bible, to love our neighbor as ourselves. So, what does that look like?

If you make sure that you get time to rest and relax, do you also watch your friend's kids so she can catch a break now and then? If you enjoy heading up to the cabin every summer, have you ever invited a less privileged family for a weekend at your cabin when its unused? As you are harvesting that luscious garden, do you bag up some of the excess and donate it to your local food shelf? Or . . . do you just complain about how much you already do for others without any appreciation in return?

The best way to find out if you are showing love, is to check your motives. What are you expecting in return for your good favor? List some people you help, but with an attitude of resentment for not getting back thanks, appreciation, or a good deed in turn: _________________________________________

My top people would include my own family. Sometimes we need to stop helping people so that they can learn to help themselves. This is one of those times when you might get a thank you later, much later.

For instance, when I find myself screeching that I am SICK of picking up after you people (my husband and kids) with NO thanks, whatsoever(!), I realize I need to stop picking up after them and give them the gift of self-reliance. If your motive behind cleaning up your house is the appreciation of your kids . . . it's not gonna happen, get over it.

A better motive is the intention to raise children who are prepared to live independently once they leave my home. The best way I can help my kids is to lovingly and kindly teach them how to do that along the way, and let them practice right here and now. You try it once:

"No clean clothes? Oh, that's a bummer. Would you like me to show you how to use the washing machine, again?" Smile.

So, now that we are done thinking being a help means always doing things for others, we can focus on knowing when it's time to take action. Who is your neighbor anyway?

Read Luke 10:30-37

In Jesus' day, priests and Levites served God, and should have been the first to stop and help. Samaritans, on the other hand, were despised by the Jews, because they intermarried with foreigners. No one would expect anything good from a Samaritan. Who helped the injured man?

Name all the things the Samaritan did for the man:
When he saw him, he had _________. He ______ to him,
and __________ his wounds, pouring on _____ and _______ (to disinfect and salve); and set him on his own _________, brought him to an _______ and took _______ of him.
On the next day, when he departed, he took out two ____ and ______ them to the
innkeeper, and said to him, "______ care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will ________ you."

Who is your neighbor?
a. Someone who lives next door to you
b. Someone in your church
c. Anyone near where you presently are
d. Anyone you become aware of that is in need

How do we know when it is right to help, and when to wait? I think it is safe to say that if someone is in danger, hurt, lost, confused, hungry, thirsty, etc., we can and should do something. Call 911 if you don't feel safe going out to help, shout out the window that the police have been called, go buy a sandwich for someone you are afraid will spend money on drugs, alert a Pastor if you think someone in your church might be a victim, there is always something that can be done to be a help. If you are not sure if you can do anything, ask.

Finally, read Proverbs 3:5-6.

What will happen if everyone who says they love God, begins to love others as we do ourselves?

In what way have you been challenged as a result of this study?

What is the most important truth you have taken away?

What is one thing you can do today, to live that truth?

Lord, I seek You now and acknowledge You in all of my ways. I want You to guide my thoughts and my actions from now on. Father, show me someone I can reach out to intentionally. Help me to see my neighbors, even those who live far away from me. I ask You to fill my heart with compassion, and to cause me to be sensitive to the true needs of those around me. Give me wisdom to know what to do and how to do it. In Jesus' name, amen.

Please come back, and also tell me in the comments what about The Love Revolution Devotional Workbook and Field Journal, by Joyce Meyer, the inspiration for this study, has inspired you!

Go ahead, be the first!

Love, Karen

Photo by dabobabo, courtesy of

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