Like charity, peace and harmony start at home. But so often, we are blindsided by a bigger picture and lose sight of this concept. We create a wide circle and “paint with a broad brush” while neglecting (if not ignoring) the people and issues “in our own back yard.”
I try to walk at least two miles every day. If the weather is nice, I like to walk outside on a trail near my house. While I am walking, I often pray. On any given day I have a long, long list of people/situations to talk to God about, and the two miles passes really fast. God reveals Himself to me during these “walking prayer sessions,” and He often steers me toward a certain train of thought. Sometimes it is those who are sick and grieving. Sometimes it is toward a personal struggle I am having. Sometimes it is toward world situations or national issues.
But the overriding theme God keeps bringing to me is the tremendous need “in my own back yard.” Sure, He wants me to care about issues that affect our nation and those in other countries. Sure, He wants me to be concerned with missions worldwide. But He also wants me to realize that there are a lot of people within my own local circle – family, friends, neighbors – who need my prayers and my ministry. You’ve heard people say, “Not everyone is called to be a missionary to Africa,” and that is so true. I think quite often we get so caught up in the “big picture” on a broad scale that we forget there are people/situations in our own little circle that need our attention.
In Galatians 5:14, we are told to “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
(Scripture taken from the King James Version, 1987 printing. The KJV is public domain in the United States.) All throughout the Bible we are told to love our neighbor, honor our father and mother, minister to each other, heal the sick, feed the hungry, house the homeless, and care for the poor and needy. We are given countless examples of how to manifest this in our everyday living.
So look around your own neighborhood. Pay attention and see what is right in front of you. Look for chances to help your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your community. It is true that “charity begins at home.” And more importantly, it is scriptural in basis. Get busy helping locally and serving God at home, and see where He leads you. This day and always, love your neighbor and share God’s love with those who surround you, and see for yourself what peace and harmony can result.