Suffering, resurrection and Christian love – day 17
To love your neighbour as yourself
I read a story of a very wealthy man who lost nearly all of his possessions, largely at the hands of his unscrupulous brother. After the loss of his wealth, like Job, he nearly lost his wife as well. He and his family lived like beggars, depending on the generosity of others.
Much like Job, the man decided that he would show the world that he did not simply love God because of all his wealth, but that he would remain faithful to Him even though he had almost nothing left. However, the people did not like someone who, despite so much adversity, still lived faithful and godly lives. Every sigh, every sorrow of this man they interpreted as a sign that he had rebelled against God or that he had decided to renounce God. It became almost an obsession for the man to prove to the villagers that he was unlike them. He talked to God and asked Him to show him what he could do, so that people would stop doubting his Christian faith. However, God did not answer him.
In an act of compassion, he gave all the money that he had managed to save, over his years of living in poverty, to the poor. The poor were grateful, but people were not convinced. “He’s trying to build himself a client base,” they said. Again, he spoke to the Lord and pleaded for his help. Still, the Lord would not answer. Then, he became involved in a project to build a new church for the town. It was a truly impressive structure that stood out as a symbol of God’s glory, above all the other buildings in the town. Now, the people said that he had tried to immortalise himself.
The man was despondent and went to the Lord once more. To his surprise, God answered him. He said, “There’s a man who lives in the largest house in the village, a true villain – someone who no one has any respect for. Nobody goes anywhere near him because they know how deceitful he is. You know him. It’s your brother. He needs care. Go and look after him and love him. Then, everyone will know that you are my child.”
The most difficult love is to love those closest to us who have hurt us!