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Neighbor-Love, part 1

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

We have to learn to love difficult, unlovable people…Part of the cost of discipleship is living with the other disciples.—Beth Allen, quoted in Practicing Peace,  ed. Catherine Whitmire

As Christian preppers we try to live a life that is faithful, rooted in obedience to God, in love for our neighbors and in care for the world God created. This work is made harder by our own selfishness, weariness and internal conflicts, and also by the insistent messages of the consumer culture.  If we are to do our work well we need help from our neighbors.

I have been helped and blessed by people who showed me how to tend goats and gardens, who comforted me when I was tired and frustrated, who spoke lovingly and bluntly when I was being foolish or selfish, who confirmed that the things I was trying to do with my life were realistic and worthwhile. And I have been frustrated and disappointed by many of those same people when they gave practical advice that didn’t work, when they were too caught up in their own weariness or anger or wanting to see me clearly or treat me fairly, when what I understood to be God’s will for me looked crazy to them.

When I’m frustrated in this way, I encounter two temptations. One is to write those people off and go looking for some easier, more lovable fellow disciples. The other is to focus on regaining the approval and liking of the people around me rather than on doing what God would have me do.

But, when I stop and consider the situation clearly, I know that I need to do for them what they at their best have done for me: love them as brothers and sisters in Christ, offer comfort when they’re distressed and encouragement when they’re doing work whose value I understand, speak the truth as I see it, both clearly and gently, when I think they may be astray, pray for them and leave them in God’s hands.

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