Made for Each Other
~ N. T. Wright
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. — Proverbs 27:17
We are made for each other. Yet making relationships work, let alone making them flourish, is often remarkably difficult. We all know that justice matters, yet it slips through our fingers. We mostly know that there is such a thing as spirituality, and that it’s important, yet it’s hard to refute the charge that it’s all wishful thinking. In the same way, we all know that we belong in communities, that we were made to be social creatures. Yet there are many times when we are tempted to slam the door and stomp off into the night by ourselves, simultaneously making the statement that we don’t belong anymore and that we want someone to take pity on us, to come to the rescue and comfort us. We all know we belong in relation- ships, but we can’t quite work out how to get them right. The voice we hear echoing in our heads and our hearts keeps reminding us of both parts of this paradox, and it’s worth pondering why.
“We were made for each other” is a profound statement of reality, echoed in the proverb — for it’s in community that we are shaped and find our sharpened selves. It’s also a signpost of a deeper reality, telling us there is a road ahead that leads to goodness.
Lord, thank You for making me for community; may I become more like You through others’ help. Amen.
Show Forth Neighbor-Love
~ Dallas Willard
“Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” — Luke 10:36-37 NRSV
The word neighbor comes out of older English, where it referred to “the boor that is nigh thee.” Here I want you to think of your neighbors as simply those we are intimately engaged with in life. The Samaritan found himself in intimate engagement with a victim of violence, and he responded accordingly.
A common usage of the word neighbor today locates the neighbor as one who lives “next door” or close by. A “next-door” neighbor is one with a special degree of intimacy, in this understanding, and there is something to that. But in this understanding my most important neighbor is overlooked: the one who lives with me — my family, or others taken in by us. They are the ones I am most intimately engaged with in my life. They are the ones who first and foremost I am to love as I love myself. If only this were done, nearly every problem in families would be resolved, and the love would spread to others.
How have you defined neighbor? How would you define one now, especially in light of Jesus’ teachings?
Lord, open my eyes to the needs of those who live “next door”; empower and embolden me to go and show forth neighbor-love. Amen.
Excerpted with permission from Faith That Matters by Eugene H. Peterson, Brennan Manning, A. W. Tozer, Frederick Buechner, Henri Nouwen, Bryan W. Smith, Dallas Willard, and N. T. Wright, copyright HarperOne.
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God created us to need each other, to rely on our those around us, and to love each other as we love ourselves. How do you define neighbor? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily