“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
If I’m really honest, it is often easier to be a good neighbor to people who are at least an arm’s length away… you know, ones who aren’t splattered in my messy humanity and ones that don’t get their messy humanity on me. Ones we don’t know and ones who don’t intimately know us. Safe ones.“Be kind; you never know what someone is going through,” we say from the nosebleed section, and then we get onto the field with our spouses and siblings and kids and are impatient and selfish and demanding.
If we are loving our neighbors, we had better start at the other side of our beds and the rooms down the hallway.
How many times have I gone out and shown patience and kindness to a stranger, honoring them as better than myself, only to return home and speak in reactive anger to my kids or take my husband for granted?
So how do we repair when we fail (because God certainly foreknew that we would regularly do so)? I think we give preference and honor to those we love when we humble ourselves before them, confess the ways we have wronged them, apologize and commit to repairing if they are willing. We cannot be in right standing with the Lord if our hearts are in a proud and self-serving posture before those we love.
Being devoted to one another does mean choosing to give honor rather than to cater to our selfishness, but being devoted also means being willing to say “I was wrong. I’m sorry. I’ll work on it.”
Prayer of Response:
God, break my heart about my selfish words, actions or heart postures that hurt and offend my nearest neighbors, so that I may repent and find healing in those areas. Teach me to give preference in honor to those who are with me in the messiness of daily life, and help me to repair relationships when I miss the mark. Amen.
Questions to Ponder:
- Is there someone God is placing on your heart today who you can honor by apologizing to them for a wrong you may have committed against them?
- Who might God be revealing to us in our homes that needs our attention, a kind word, a listening ear, a loving response?
—Submitted by Traci Bartak
Traci and her outdoorsman husband are currently raising 3 wild boys in rural Washington state with lots of grit and even more grace. Traci writes on motherhood, following Jesus and her love of the outdoors on her blog: www.neeci.wordpress.com