A few blocks from home a mother stops to run into the market with her two kids to grab some milk.
With milk in hand they jump back into their car and head home. But they never make it.
Mere moments have passed when another driver blows a red light at the intersection and plows into the young family, absolutely destroying their vehicle.
Thankfully, mom had taken the extra couple of minutes to buckle both children into their car seats, as well as her own seatbelt.
Most auto accidents happen close to home. Nearly one-third of all auto accidents happen within five miles of home, and over seventy percent of accidents happen within fifteen miles of home.
Why? Research concludes there is a comfort zone associated with driving in your own neighborhood. This can lead to overconfidence and essentially driving on autopilot. It also means drivers are more likely to multitask and let their attention become diverted.
In other words, familiarity breeds contempt. Proverbs even points this out:
Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick! Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome.
Proverbs 25:16-17 NLT
Long experience of someone can make us so aware of their faults that we become disrespectful or scornful.
It is a potential point of failure for every relationship. With our spouse, with our friends, with our parents or children, with our God.
Too easily we take them for granted, and we don’t bother anymore.
Let that sink in: We don’t bother.
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
Luke 10:25-28 NLT
How does “not bothering” fit in with love the way God commands it? It doesn’t.
Today, step back for a moment and consider the people that God has put in your life. Make a short list that includes your spouse, family, friends, co-workers—whomever.
Now start a list for each of those people of the things they do that bother you.
No, really. This should be easy. You’ve already been complaining about these things forever.
The things that bother you, offend you, and irritate you. Those things that are contemptuous, hateful, ridiculous, and downright crazy.
Now ask God to help you love that person in spite of those things. And BECAUSE of those things. Ask God to help you see them the way He views them. And ask God to help you appreciate and value them.
Ask him to replace your familiarity and contempt with love and appreciation. And so fulfill the law of Christ.