Love Your Neighbor
Here is an excerpt of an email from a former SOS summer staffer who intentionally lives in Binghampton with his wife. This story shows that relationships aren't easy. They're messy. But often we find that when we build a relationship with a person for the sake of helping them, we're often the ones who are affected most. It's a humble reminder that God puts others in our path not simply for the sake of serving others, but to teach and change us as well. The command to love your neighbor isn't solely for the benefit of your neighbor. It's also for your benefit.
We spent the day with Shana* yesterday, she came to church and lunch with us, and then we got her moved into her new duplex. It is very much in Orange Mound, but on the inside it's decently nice and it's what she can afford right now. We're nervous for her safety and the fact that she doesn't know anyone over there, but she's a lot more accustomed to the hood than we are. She still doesn't have any water or electricity, but I'm hoping that we can raise some money for her to get them on today or tomorrow.
Yesterday was a good day, but last night my wife and I both were pretty broken. Really getting to know Shana, you find out that she's just a normal person. She's easy to talk to and (for the most part) fun to be around, and it's not fair that we don't have to worry about anything while she's scraping by in a duplex with no water in Orange Mound. And beyond that, she shows such incredible grace to us who have been in her life. I for one ignored her for almost a year, pretending she didn't exist so that I wouldn't have to get involved, and still ignore her some days, but she never brings it up.
One thing for sure is that God is revealing things in me that I've never had to deal with before. I've seen in myself that I truly can't do enough to earn God's favor because I won't do enough. So many times I know the good I should do, and refuse to do it. God's grace is sufficient.
*Names have been changed.