Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who Is My Neighbor?

I am sitting here in my chair, with so much I want to write. This blog is about my faith journey and I am not perfect. My story is still unfinished, there are many more chapters to be written. My intention was to "Get Real" and it doesn't get much more real than this.

It has been an interesting (God is working on my heart) kind of week. I admitted something to my husband tonight that I am afraid to even write about. I plan to have some deep conversations with God about it.

I think it reveals some ugliness in me that Satan would love to keep inside of me, but I am not going to let it stay there. What saddens me deeply is that I am embarrassed to even take this struggle to God as I think about MckMama sitting for days in the hospital watching Stellan struggle. (Please read about Stellan's story here and add him to your prayer list).

I am sure you are wondering now, where I am going with this story, here is where it gets a little ugly. I realized this week that it is really easy for me to be friends with some people, but really difficult for me to be a friend to all people.

When I first moved to this little town I knew no one. I was a stay-at-home mom with no contact with the outside world, (or so it seemed). The easiest place for me to meet new friends was at church. A few months after we moved to town I was invited to attend a Women of Faith Conference with some women from the church. I was hesitant to go, because I did not know any of these women very well, but I decided it was a great opportunity to get to know some women better.

On the way to the conference the ladies in charge said that they prayerfully considered which women would stay in the same rooms at the conference. They did not have a sign-up sheet. This statement made me very nervous. Well, I realized that one of the women I knew well would be in my room, but the other two were strangers. Now I was even more nervous.

The gal that invited me had one of her high-school friends on the trip and she was one of our other roommates. The fourth woman, was someone that did not regularly attend our church. In my mind she was a little different, and I was a lot nervous now. Not only was I going to share a room with this woman, but I was going to share a bed with her. I don't think that the first night I got any sleep because I was so uncomfortable.

Because I chose to judge this woman, I never ever really got to know her. She started to attend our church more regularly, but I never did really have a conversation with her. I really didn't know anything about her. She came and went at the church over the next couple of years.

Two days ago I was reading the paper and I realized that she died in a car accident over the weekend. My heart aches for my selfishness and intolerance.

The parable of the Good Samaritan, a story I have known since I was a young child, is playing through my head.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:25-37

. . ."And who is my neighbor?" Tears flow freely as I cry out to God and ask for His forgiveness. For who am I to judge who is worthy to be called my friend?

I am unworthy of the love that I have from Jesus. God sent His son to die to save me. He is not only my Savior, He is also my friend.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

Thankfully, God isn't finished with me yet. I know that not everyone that I meet will become a close friend. However, everyone I meet is my neighbor.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Please remember Annie's family in your prayers.

Lord, I need you today to help me love my neighbor as myself. Please help me to let go of all judgements I have toward others. Help me to love all people Just as you love me. Amen


Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I think we might all have a story about "the one that got away," so to speak. I think it's a way to teach us to look for those opportunities in the future.

Kimberly said...

Oh, I have had a similar experience and know your heartbreak. I will pray for the family.

Collette@Jesuslovesmums said...

Amy thanks for sharing in such an honest way. I will pray for the family. I think we have all had times where we are unfriendly towards others. I know I have and am ashamed to admit that. God teaches us so much though and thankfully forgives.
Love Collette xxx

JennyMac said...

Very thoughtful post Amy. Prayers included here.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

What a powerful and well-written post.

I'm thankful God isn't finished with me yet, either!
~ Wendy

3 Blessings said...

I left my comment on your Exemplify page, but I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading through your blog. I look forward to your updates.

Deb said...


I agree with those who have already commented. Sadly, we've all had similar experiences.

But the good news is that we can learn from our short-sighted decisions and make better ones in the future.

God is really good about helping us to do that.

Thanks for sharing what's in your heart.

And thanks for the sweet comment that you left at my place.

Happy SITS Day!

Sweet dreams.

Erika said...

I am new to your site. I found yours at a friend's site. I'm so sorry to hear that you are dealing with this. Sometimes the lessons we need to learn are painful, indeed, but the Lord is in control and there for you to lean on through it all. Go to Him and He will give you peace.

GingerLouise Clothing said...

Hey there:) Thanks for that powerful story, so sad I will pray for her family. I do the same thing and last week admitted some ugliness I had on my blog because I was desperate to not be "that way" I admire you for trying to live up to high standards, we are not perfect. It hurts a lot to think of the ways we (me) behave sometimes you are not alone I am sure she has forgiven you for whatever wrongs you feel you did--forgive yourself you sound like a great girl.

Chele said...

Oh your blog is looking good my friend! And thanks for putting my button up! :)

Now to business at hand... I think we all struggle with that, you are not alone! I think everything you wrote hear is perfect to help me remember what is right! Thanks for sharing your heart! Hugs!

Christine said...

I really appreciate your honesty and open heart. What a great ministry you have started here. God Bless!

Sarah said...

Amy, I think that's such an easy trap to fall into. It's too easy to judge a book by its cover and not move past to discover the wonders inside. A bitter pill to swallow though, for sure. And praise God that He's not finished with any of us yet! (Love the new look to your blog.)