Who Is My Neighbour?
Successful human relationships, whether global, national, regional, communal or individual, have been, and remain, our greatest challenge. From the beginning of man’s journey on this planet, the extent and the quality of each person’s responsibility toward his neighbour have been a central issue.
Societies have developed laws and codes of conduct to govern behaviour, to protect the innocent and weak and to ensure honest dealings and respect for life and property.
It is no surprise to law-abiding people, though, that laws are broken. It is no surprise that greed, disregard for others and selfish indulgence of the senses take place. After all, if these were not likely, no laws would have to be made to discourage evils. Society’s laws attempt to govern behaviour from the outside. But the Bible speaks of a law to be written in the heart, a new and different way of thinking manifested in conduct that benefits rather than harms others, This law is God’s law of love, written into the minds of true Christians by the reading and understanding of God’s word.
Jesus Christ taught the way that leads to successful relationships from the inside out, his teaching creates a new heart and mind, a new attitude toward life and toward fellow humans (Galatians 5:24-25). Christians who practice this way of life do not take advantage of others. They strive to be fair and reasonable in dealings with others. They are not sexually irresponsible. They do not indulge in illegal acts or drug abuse. They are considerate and take care not to place the lives or property of others in danger. They value successful relationships because the love of God dwells in them.
Going to church and talking about spiritual topics are all very nice. But God looks on the heart. He is interested in what is on the inside. What is on the inside will produce fruit on the outside (Galatians 5:16,17). Jesus said that it is quite possible to look spiritual on the outside, but inside to be a whitewashed tomb, to be full of everything unclean (Matthew 23:27).
“Love your neighbour as yourself” Jesus commanded, echoing the admonition given to the Israelites centuries before, recorded in Leviticus 19:18. This is the principle governing all successful human relationships. But it is growing increasingly unpopular as more and more people around us focus on personal, political or financial advantage. People actually want to be treated with honesty, respect, consideration, fairness and kindness. But many want these things without wanting to give them in return. True Christians understand that their calling in Jesus Christ has responsibilities towards God and others. As they respond the word of God helps them meet those responsibilities, bringing about successful relationships through His love planted in their minds and bearing fruit in their lives.
Bro David Yelulani (Banket, Zimbabwe)