By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – May 1, 2016) — “Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it”—1 John 3:18 (NIV).
To grow in our Christian walk, we must take the lessons learned in the storms of life and put them to work for His kingdom. After the most recent storm in mine, when an EF2 tornado ripped through my neighborhood, I learned what it means to love your neighbor.
After the storm had abated, I assessed the damage through disbelieving eyes. I was overwhelmed. I was thankful my dog and I were unharmed. I was also grateful because the damage could have been more extensive. Then, the outpouring of love from others brought me to tears.
Like others, I wandered into the street to appraise the storm damage and to check on my neighbors. I was in a daze. A neighbor asked if I were okay. I replied, “I think so.”
Then, that same neighbor’s son put his arms around my waist and said, “Carol, don’t worry. It’s going to be all right.”
The tension released itself in the form of tears as I returned the reassuring hug of a six-year-old. Yes, it was going to be all right.
Neighbors began picking up the pieces of strewn lawn furniture, children’s toys and playground equipment as well as other items tossed about by the gale force. People were helping people.
One neighbor pitched in to help my sons, who had arrived 45 minutes after the storm hit, to place tarps over the holes in my roof. An offer of tools that might be needed for the temporary repairs came from another neighbor. The tornado had skipped over their houses, leaving them untouched.
Friends and family from other parts of town and another community arrived to offer assistance. Text messages and phone calls began to arrive from others who knew the storm had struck in my area. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of concern for my well-being.
In Matthew 22, an expert in religious law tries to trap Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
In verses 37-40, Jesus replies, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Over the next few days, I was bombarded with offers of help. Friends showed up with chain saws to cut up the tree that had fallen in my backyard. Others showed up with shop vacuums to help with the interior clean-up.
In order to be a good neighbor, we must take action. We must not only see the needs of others, we must act on those needs. For me, it is easier to act than to accept the help of others. However, that night I learned an important lesson. Others are blessed when you allow them to help you.
Note from the author: This is the final of a three-part series.)
Photo captions: 1) Tornado damage in Oklahoma. 2) Carol Round.
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