My three sweeties were playing Legos. Stretched out across one portion of the living room floor was a series of bases upon which they were prepared to build some extravagant town or house or something. Typically that means hours of happy play, but that day something was wrong. Steven was crying while Olivia and Angela chattered happily.
“They want me to build my house in my room,” he tearfully informed me.
I quickly discovered that the girls had no mean intentions. They just wanted their playing field expanded. They wanted their people to have to go away somewhere to visit, requiring a long stay. To them it was perfectly logical that Steven’s house be built as far away as his bedroom.
I explained to the girls that they were essentially telling Steven he had to go be by himself. They were giving him the impression that they didn’t want him playing with them. Immediately, they assured both their brother and their mommy that they didn’t mean that at all! They began reconsidering, looking for a fun place for Steven to build his house closer to them. All was well again, and play time was restored.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
When the Jewish religious leaders were trying to trap Jesus, one of them asked Him to nail down the greatest commandment of the law. Jesus’ response is well-known: “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
We always know how we feel. We know what we want. We know what we need. We know when we feel left out or included. When we’re having fun or feeling miserable. And in loving ourselves, we strive to do our best to meet those needs and wants and to deal with those emotions.
But how often do we forget to apply that to our neighbor as well? It’s not so much that we don’t care. We just don’t think about it. We think we’re taking care of them as we move through our own life, often missing those times when moving through our life is hurting the very neighbor we desire to love.
My girls assumed they were playing wonderfully with their little brother and proceeded happily. He, however, felt that they were rejecting him, leaving him to play all by himself. Everyone just needed the right perspective.
Fortunately, Mommy saw what was going on. I didn’t fuss. I didn’t punish. I just revealed the reality of the situation.
Our Father does the same thing for us if we will listen. He sees what we miss. He knows just how our neighbor feels. And, He knows what we’re doing to make it better or worse. But, the beautiful thing is that He also knows our hearts. He knows that we wouldn’t intentionally hurt our neighbor. He knows that He simply needs to open our eyes and grant us a little perspective.
Lord, please open my eyes today! Please give me perspective to know what I need to change to better love my neighbor as myself!