Sunday, June 21, 2009

On Neighbors

Let’s say you’ve just moved into a new neighborhood, and you now live between Mr. Grau and Mr. Farber.

Mr. Grau is not particularly friendly, though he is always looking for a deal. He’s constantly hailing you as you work in your yard or walking past his house: “Hey, can we make a deal? I notice you have two of X. I have two of Y. Could I get an X for my extra Y?” And generosity doesn’t seem to be his strong suit. When you need to borrow things, he’ll usually say, “No, but I can rent it to you,” and on those occasions when he loans or gives you things, you have the feeling that he’s just softening you up for the next deal. On the other hand, he is completely trustworthy and honest, and every time you trade with him, you’re either satisfied or the deal is off.

Mr. Farber is much friendlier. He’ll loan you things whenever you ask. He’ll even give you things you don’t ask for. He knows he doesn’t need to knock when he visits your house, which he does quite often, giving you advice you ignore at your peril on how to be safer and healthier and cleaning the surplus cash out of your drawers, wallet, and bank and investment accounts. You know you can always depend on him to be there for you and that no one successfully resists his way of winning friends and influencing people.

Now, if you had to choose, would you prefer Mr. Grau to move out and be replaced by another Mr. Farber, or would you prefer Mr. Farber to be replaced by another Mr. Grau? If you’d prefer the former, please comment and let me know why.

Jesus tells us to love our neighbors by being good neighbors to them. I think specifically of gays, drug addicts, and prostitutes as neighbors to whom Jesus sends us with an invitation to repent (as we need to repent), be forgiven through the blood of Jesus, and receive eternal life. How will they ever want to listen to us, let alone believe, if we look more like Mr. Farber than like Mr. Gray?

The situation with gays is complicated enough to require a separate post, but our society’s jailing of druggies and prostitutes is so obviously unbiblical I don’t understand why the Holy Spirit hasn’t stirred up more passion among his people to fight it. Where does the Bible prescribe jail for any activity? Where does it prescribe any force to be exercised against those who deal in substances? With the exception of daughters of priests, where does it prescribe force against prostitutes? Do gays, druggies, or prostitutes look on us as those who love them as they are despite our grief over their lifestyles? Or do they think we only want to put them in jail—or worse? And if they know that the Bible nowhere prescribes jail for anything, will they think we’re submitting ourselves to the Bible or trying to get the Bible to submit to us?


  1. My comment regarding jailing prostitutes - it isn't a victim-less crime and if people don't want them arrested and jailed then they need to work to change the law rather than getting mad at law enforcement for enforcing the law. Laws are not for us to pick and choose on whether we should/want to/need to obey. Though in our current day and age, one would think that is the case as law enforcement is punished or even fired for reporting illegals to ICE, etc. If the situation were as simple as the act of prostitution, one might be able to convince others that prostitution should be legal and no one should ever be punished for the infraction. However, where there is this sort of activity, there are also drugs, guns, powerful pimps, johns who are hurting their own families, etc. Let law enforcement do their jobs as they let you do yours.

  2. Wow! A comment! That's what it's all about -- thanks!

    I'm working on a post-length response. Your concerns are valid, and you're obviously not alone in holding them. Let's see if I can address them.