Why is it that in the Western Christian world we get so eager in our pursuit of happiness that we often end up creating unhappiness for others? Our attitude may even be such that we feel it is nobody's business what we do with our time and with our place. However, our neighbors may not be so agreeable to put up with our way of life.
Our great Creator established a set of laws long ago in order to regulate a loving and responsible way of life among neighbors for all mankind. The main principle summarizing these laws of God is commonly known as the Golden Rule: "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).
Now haven't we all been annoyed, from time to time, by somebody else's lifestyle spilling over into our path? We may have even gotten upset, frustrated and depressed, because we couldn't really do anything about that nasty habit or hostile attitude of one of our neighbors. In the crowded neighborhoods of our cities, tolerance is a great virtue that's little practiced.
Can we even imagine a society that consciously lives with consideration for neighbor? It would be a place of great peace: "Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble" (Psalm 119:165). Isn't it such a society that God would have us be? "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people; that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
If we take the Golden Rule to heart, do we really have to get out the yardstick, in order to measure where our space ends and the neighbor's space begins? Actually, after thinking about my own way of doing things, I came to the conclusion that I need to change a few things in my life to God's way, before I can better understand how to treat my neighbor.
So, in my daily struggle to overcome sin and to please God, I turned to God's Word, such as Romans 12 and 1 John 2:16-17, which tells us to not be conformed but rather come out of the world. Colossians 3:16 further instructs us to have a godly attitude and to: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom..."
Isn't it simply uncanny how the Scripture hones in on our hang-ups and emotions to help us overcome and to better abide by the Golden Rule? In 2 Peter 3:18 Peter also admonishes us to continue to grow in grace and in knowledge: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen."