By: Tim Sader
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. (James 2:8)
Sometimes my friendship with the Garretts especially Terry was like iron sharpening iron but I learned self from Him and how to stand up for my beliefs. When I lived on Ross Cannon Street in York, SC there were many kids in my neighborhood. I most quickly became friends with Ricky and Steven and I got to be like an older brother to them. I learned the town with them on bikes, me and my brother in our wheelchairs. We barely ever had 5 dollars between the four of us but we always had fun together. Joe who was closer to my age, lived next door and had a younger sister Erica and cousin Heather who lived with them. We were best friends, I stayed at his house most weekends, we played video games all night and slept during the day. We also hung out with Joseph and Jake down two doors from us until they moved. Amanda and little Joseph lived next to them. We had four Josephs living at four houses in a row. Melina lived down the street with her mom and brother Chris; she became close friends with Erica and was next door as often as I was. They were younger sisters to me and my closest female friends. The Whitlock house next door seemed to be the neighborhood hangout because everyone gathered there. Sean and Donald lived a few streets away and would rollerblade our way often. When Josh was out walking he would stop in at Whitlocks or Garretts to chill for a bit. Jonathan one of Joe’s close friends would visit his grandpa across the street but would always end up on our side. Roger one of Joe’s school friends lived on the next street but he punched Ricky so I didn’t like him at first. Eventually I heard him play some songs on guitar, I became his number one supporter and biggest fan. Need I not forget to mention Jason, Alan, Wendys, Brandy, Jeffery, The Duncans, Kimberly, Sissy, Tina, Melanie, Jesse, Gene, Bradley, Lamont and Mickey. There are so many Cannon Kid stories to tell and to this day many of us are still closer than family.
If we are willing to treat others how we want to be treated we are expressing our love to them. Learning to do this one thing is how we learn to do what is right. I have in no way perfected this but I had a large network of neighborhood kids to learn a little bit about it. None of us were perfect kids and we all thought we were invincible so personalities would clash and even two of my best friends were at odds. I told both of them I refuse to take sides and they knew not to sway me from that conviction. The Cannon Mill neighborhood was a lower income area so no one was the rich kid everyone wanted to be friends with. Those in my circles felt despised by others but not by each other so we had that in common to build our friendships on. We were mostly kind to each other because we all knew what it was like to be needy (Pr. 14:20-21). For a while my family attended church and knew about the Lord in a more obvious way than our neighbors. We lived out our relationship with God and shared Him in small ways as we could. After a while this was less necessary as one by one my friends came with me until we were all learning about God on a regular basis. Those who had no relationship with God accepted His forgiveness of their sins and made Jesus Lord of their lives (Jer. 31:34). As we grew in our love for God we became more tolerant toward each other and friendships formed between those who once were enemies. There is no greater command than us loving God and loving people (Mk. 12:30-31). There are many commands not to murder, steal or be envious of our neighbors but all of them can be fulfilled if we learn to love (Rom. 13:9-10). Our generation of Cannon Kids in my opinion was the best. When one of us were feeling down someone would be there to build them up again (Rom. 15:1-2). We looked out for the good of each other not for selfish reasons but for the good of us all.
Love is often misunderstood in our society today because it has become more about our sexual desires and intimacy than about a way to feel for the people around us. Some have made it an untouchable subject to the point where they are afraid or embarrassed to say it to anyone. Others have misused their “I love yous” making them a means to gain the affection of others and it has only brought them heart ache, to them love is meaningless. No matter where we are in context to our feelings about love society has made it complicated. Love is doing good and being kind to others even if we get nothing in return.
Lord what would our world be like if we learned to love like you? Help us not to make love untouchable to us nor rob ourselves by misrepresenting it until it is meaningless. Love is most simply kindness, to see people are protected from harm and that their needs are provided for before our own. We ask that you would show us radical ways to express love to our neighbors and fellow man. Also open us up to be loved when it is shown to us. In Jesus name, Amen.
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