Monday, January 5, 2015

“Can I still hate my neighbor and Still Love God? My neighbors are like roaches; they are nauseating!”

"Relatives found the body of Sunatha Simmons, 63, in her garage at this Illinois home. She had been dead for more than a year, the coroner said."

          No, you cannot, but there is a caveat from Paul, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men (Rom 12:18).” If you look well, some of these neighbors have been going (to Africa, Asia, Central America, Australia and other places) to share the gospel they cannot even give to their own neighbor. How do you have a neighbor, she dies and you only find out one year later? Americans have to revamp their notion of Christianity because it does not fit that of the Bible. Ask how many visit their neighbors. Now ask how many talk about being good Christians. It baffles me how people say that they do not like people they see, but they like God. This runs at variance with John’s question, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen (I Jn 4:20)?” If you do not love your neighbor as yourself, then your religion and Christianity are vain because the neighbor is a manifestation of the invisible God.  Many neglect even the basic of true religion which is to cater for the orphans and widows. It reads, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).”
Permit that I lay the background. The economy strived on subsistence agriculture. The orphans had lost their father and the widows had lost the husbands. Both the former and latter were the only bread winners in the family, so their death meant a total destitution of the family. Therefore, the widow and orphan became the burden of the community to bear as a token of their true religion. Nowadays, the destitution and responsibility fall on every destitute neighbor of our community. How then do we say that we are true worshippers when we don’t even visit our neighbors; we don’t even visit our own family members? Many don’t even know their own families? Why are then so many dotards abandoned in the nursing homes? Take the example of this gentleman who killed his wife and two kids. It is written, “He adds that his brother never told him about his finances but he had heard the family was dealing with bankruptcy.” If you were close to your relative, you will know they are going through bankruptcy, but we live a very artificial life and are building a very artificial society that people don’t build real relationships with people. No wonder many are falling back on coping mechanisms and bizarre behaviors as bestiality.
Literally, the word neighbor means someone you share a living boundary (Prov 3:29; 27:10; Eccl 4:4; 2 Chr 6:22; Job 12:4; Josh 9:16; Ruth 4;17; 2 Kings 4:3; Jn 9:6 ), and figuratively, it means the closest person to you at a given time (The parable of the Good Samaritan; Lk 10: 27-37).  Loving God and loving your neighbor is more than any sacrifice you will ever give to God (Mk 12:33; Rom 13:9; gal 5:14; James 2:8). You should remember this, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (I Sam 15:22).”
How does anyone leave his/her country to another country for evangelism when they don't even know their neighbor well? Shouldn't charity always starts at home? Here is a man killed by his neighbor who sleepwalked to his fence. If I saw my neighbor trying to climb over my fence, I am not sure the first thing is to shoot him. What a failed society! When the Children of Israel were vacating Egypt, the closet person they were to borrow from were their neighbors (Ex 3:22; 11:2; 12:4). You will soon understand what that meant with the advent of Jesus in the Great Commandment (Lk 10:27) which he cited from Lev 19:18. One of the commandments was, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor (Ex 20:16; Deut 5:20).”  God gave Ten Commandments, and they are divided into 2 groups. Group 1 consists of the first 5 commandments and group 2 deals with the last 5. The first group deals with man’s relationship with God, and the second group deals with man’s relationship with man. In other words, God requires a vertical relationship between humanity and God as well as a horizontal relationship between humanity and others. False witness against a neighbor was considered as actual murder (I king s 21:13; Lev 19:16) because you know him or her well, but you decide to kill his character or property. When you killed someone’s character, it was like killing them because character is the most important possession that any human may have. By assumption, God considers that everyone should be able to know their neighbor well. If we knew our neighbors well, there is no way a neighbor will die in her house and the police and firefighters only find that out a year later. 
The Bible does not negate the use of self-defense; however, it emphasizes on craftily, vengefully and arrogantly taking away your neighbor’s life (Ex 21:14; Deut 19:11; 27:24). If you were lacking space for storage, your neighbor was the closest person you contacted. You were required to speak truth to your neighbor (Ps 12:2; Prov 29:5; Zech 8:16; Eph 4:25). God expected neighbors to live in peace (Lev 25:14). How can you live in peace if you do not understand each other? If you knew your neighbor well, the first thing you will do is not to shoot him because you saw him in the night trying to climb over your fence.  It was usually a great evil for a neighbor to sleep with a man’s wife (2 Sam 12:11), and adultery is still a cruel thing today. Not treating your neighbor well is a sign of foolishness (Prov 11:19). Listen to these neighbors speak and it will show you how empty we have become as a society.  

There were and still are serious consequences for not treating the neighbor right. They include, being cut off the kingdom of God (Ps 15:3; 101:5; Jer 12:14). If you have a problem with your neighbor, talk it out and let it die between you (25:9; Hab 2:15). When people begin to act badly against their neighbors, it guaranteed an ill omen (Is 3:5; 19:2; Jer 9:5, 8; Zech 8:10). It showed that they had strayed away from God. On the contrary, when the people walked with God, they treated their neighbors well (Is 41:6). Therefore, no one can claim that they are walking with God when they are treating their neighbors badly. You should always keep in mind the definition of the word neighbor. To please your neighbor is for your own good (Rom 15:2) because if your neighbor cannot sleep because of what you are doing to him/her, you will not sleep for fear of what he/she will do unto you ( See the law of Oppression ). Anyone talking lies to their neighbor is not worshipping God (Ps 28:3), so share joy with your neighbors (Lk 15:6, 9). 

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (I Cor 15:19). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Hamilton Ayuk. Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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