Spewing Is a Nasty Thing

When my oldest son was about three-months-old, we decided to go on a three hour trip to my brother’s house. We were only about thirty minutes into the trip when I heard my son throwing up. I am going to be graphic here for a reason. By throwing up, I mean literal projectile vomit spewing from his mouth hard enough to hit the seat he was facing. Needless to say, it was horrifying to watch my little baby throw up in such a way. I knew something had to be drastically wrong. (It turns out that he experienced motion sickness, which explained why I never could rock him to sleep without him crying harder!)

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Today I experienced something just as horrifying as watching my little boy spewing vomit. I opened up my Twitter. As I read I was appalled at all of the hate and vitriol literally spewing out of the mouths of most of the people on there. The right wing, the left wing, the LGBTQ, the anti-LGBTQ, the politics, the hate for Trump, the hate for Biden. I was sick to my stomach and closed my phone after 10 minutes of reading. All I really wanted to do was look up the people I follow, and yet I was caught up in reading comments I never should have started reading.

I understand that in America we have some significant divides and ideologies. I worry for the state of America and my heart is saddened for the people who continue to propagate all the hatred. I fear for where America is headed.

However, as a Christian, I need to realize that no matter what happens here on earth, God is ultimately the one we will answer to for our behavior. What he has asked of me is that I love the Lord, my God, with all of my heart. Then he has asked that I love my neighbor. He did not say, “Love your neighbor if he thinks the same way you think.” He did not say, “Love your neighbor unless he is a sinner.” (We all are.) He did not say, “Love your neighbor only under certain circumstances.”

He said, “Love. Your. Neighbor.” I know it is easier said than done. Loving someone does not mean condoning their lifestyle and choices. It does mean showing them kindness, goodness, and the light that Christ brings in your life. It means trying to develop a relationship of respect so that you open the doors to have candid conversations. It means listening to them and understanding what has shaped their lives. It sometimes means inconvenience and messiness and hurt.

Frankly, there will be times you will need to walk away. But walk away with dignity instead of hurtful words, slurs, and hatred in your heart. Those things will never lead someone to the Lord. But your gracious words, your humble heart, and your prayers for someone will yield far more positive results than vindictive and hateful words and actions.

Spewing. It is distasteful, no matter where it is coming from. It is time to start loving God and then loving your neighbor in such a way that you are a light to the world around you–no matter how dark it seems.

©Lindadelaywallace.com 2023

Loving My Neighbor

When I sold my old house the one thing I missed was my old neighborhood. I knew every family on my block and we frequently would have impromptu potlucks in the cul-de-sac at the end of the street. One person would send out the call, and we would all show up with whatever we had decided to fix for dinner that evening. Two of the families would pull out tables and chairs between their houses. Sometimes the grills would be fired up and we would gather around. There was always a good assortment of foods. We had a variety of ethnicities on the street and one of them made the best potstickers I have ever had. One of the neighbors was a food critic (he has articles published routinely in the St. Louis Magazine) and you never knew what he was going to cook. One time it was fish with the head on. In some cultures eating the head is common and considered a delicacy. My husband was game to try anything, but I think he may have been the only one to eat it!!

It has been slower to get to know my neighbors in my new subdivision. It is mostly older adults. I have gotten to know the neighbors on both sides of my villa and there are four of us who routinely get together in the warm weather, sit on our decks, and have snacks and beverages. I live in an attached villa, where I have a neighbor on the east side of my house. She is delightful and I have gotten to know her well. She just lost her husband a few months ago, and it has been a difficult adjustment for her. I was glad that I could share with her my experiences of losing a spouse and some of the resources that are available to her.

The things is, loving your neighbor is easy when your neighbor is a delightful widow. It is more difficult when your neighbor is belligerent, plays loud music into the wee hours of the morning, or just downright rude. But this is the thing about neighbors–Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Wow. That is a a direct command coming right after “Love the Lord your God with all your heart.”

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

A young man who graduated from the same college I did, decided he was going to take the task of loving his neighbor to heart. He and his wife and children moved to one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of St. Louis. Their children go to the public schools. They have made a point of getting to know everyone in their block. They have hosted block parties, babysat, and helped their neighbors. It has made an impact on their street. Suddenly, people were taking more pride in their properties. Programs were started to help young men and women learn skills, and educational tutoring was provided. The resulting ministry called “Love the Lou” has made an impact in the community and they have received publicity for the difference they are making in an area many people have written off..

But the young man would tell you out of all the lives changed, his has changed the most. The world looks different to him now and he recognizes that by loving his neighbors, his life has been enriched. It hasn’t all been sunshine and roses, but the lessons he has learned about loving others with God’s eyes has been invaluable.

What about you? Have you learned to love your neighbor in such as way as to enrich the lives of the people around you? If you are like me, getting out of my comfort zone is difficult, and yet my life becomes blessed when I take God’s words to heart. Think about ways you can show love to your neighbors today. You will be glad you did.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” — Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)